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VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon

Education to work transitions: the role of work capacity, skills and health.

Alternative title: Overgang fra utdanning til arbeid: betydning av arbeidsevne, kompetanse og helse.

Awarded: NOK 7.7 mill.

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Project Period:

2015 - 2019

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In all OECD countries, those who have not completed upper secondary school within 21 years (dropouts) are doing worse in the labor market, with higher NEET (Not in Education or Training) rates, more periods of unemployment and lower income. Does it pay for young people who do not finish upper secondary school within 21 years to complete before they turn 28? A comparative analysis of four Nordic countries, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, finds that those who completed by age 28 have a 12-15 percentage point lower probability of being NEET. When checked for socioeconomic backgrounds and especially for early school-to-work transitions between 16 and 20 years, much of the differences between countries disappear. There are major differences between different groups in the different countries. The difference is most accentuated between those who finish late and those who never finish upper secondary school: biggest among those who drop out for unemployment or social security, and smallest among those who drop out for work. There are small differences between Denmark, Finland and Norway regarding the relationship between late completion of a vocational track and later NEET status. On the other hand, the connection between late completion of an academic track is weaker in Norway than in Denmark and Finland. In this study, we examine the impact of diagnosed internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems on educational attainment using a fixed effect model on rich administrative data including the Norwegian Patient Register which provides all records to specialist mental health care services. The sample consists of full cohorts of youth in Norway who were 15 to 17 years old in the period 2008-2012 (N=303,969). Diagnosed internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems during adolescence are studied with respect to later educational attainment. To this purpose data from Norwegian Patient Register which provides all records to specialist mental health care service. Results suggest that mental health problems in ages 15 to 17 strongly affects educational performance both with respect with school completion and the likelihood of entering further education. Externalizing problems have a stronger impact than internalizing problems, irrespective of gender. Boys with internalizing problems fare worse than girls with internalizing problems. Separate analyses by educational track and the timing of the consultations provides complementary insights.

We have published in international refereed journals and one book chapter mostly in the field of Economics and Sociology. We have also published in a national popular science journal. Extensive cooperation with researchers in the Nordic countries as well as in depth knowledge of the respective countries policies and data has been very fruitful. Several results have implications for policy and practice. The overall lesson is that early intervention strongly reduces problems associated with educational attainment and labour market attachment later in life. The rising number of young people in their 20s with work impairment actualizes such concern. It is both difficult and costly to target active labour market programs to this disadvantaged group. Moreover, effects are uncertain, particularly for the most widespread programs in Norway today. Our analyses point to the benefits of providing opportunities for completing secondary education to those who do not finish by the age of 21.

The primary objective of the project is to present high quality research that increases the understanding of education-to-work transitions for youth, with a special focus on transitions for disadvanteged youth. The proposed project consists of five independent, but closely related sub-projects. In the first subproject we analyse the importance of health for the transitions from education to work, based on detailed register information on health. In the second subproject we will use the international PIAAC data to analyse the relationship between not completing upper secondary school and later outcomes, focussing on the importance of skills and health. In the third subproject we investigate the impact of dropping out of upper secondary in good and bad times. How do individuals who drop out fare compared to those who do not drop out, and how does this impact vary with the business cycle? In the fourth subproject we conduct a comparative analysis between the Nordic countries and analyse the consequences of late completion of upper secondary schooling, compared to other trajectories for youth who do not complete upper secondary schooling on time. In the fifth and last subproject we evaluate the "Youth guarantee" for individuals with reduced work capacity. We analyse if this guarantee has affected transitions to education and work. The findings from the project should should be of of high relevance, both for the research community and policy makers at large.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon