G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Essays on vocational education, human capital, and the life cycle (2022)
Tutkimuksia ammatillisesta koulutuksesta ja inhimillisestä pääomasta yli elinkaaren

Ollikainen, J.-P. (2022). Essays on vocational education, human capital, and the life cycle [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. JYU Dissertations, 476. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8973-6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ollikainen, Jani-Petteri

eISBN: 978-951-39-8973-6

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2022

Number in series: 476

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (116 sivua)

Publisher: University of Jyväskylä

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8973-6

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This dissertation comprises four essays concerning the feld of economics of education. These essays focus on the relationship between vocational education, human capital, and labor market outcomes over the life cycle. The frst essay details the fndings of my study of how the Finnish comprehensive school reform in the 1970s affected labor market outcomes over the life cycle. This reform increased the age at which students are separated into vocational and general tracks from 11 years to 16 years and updated the curriculum to include content that was more general than vocational. The results of the study suggest a negative effect of the said reform on employment early in the individuals’ career but a positive effect later in their life cycle. The results also provide some evidence that this reform led to higher earnings later in one’s career. The second essay investigates the consequences of a Finnish vocational school reform implemented between 1999 and 2001. This reform made all of the graduates eligible for university by extending two-year programs to three years. To improve the relevance of vocational education in the labor market, this reform introduced workplace learning. The results show no effect on enrollment in further education or any labor market outcomes either. However, our results indicate that this reform increased the likelihood of students dropping out. The third essay investigates whether continuous learning in mid-career could be supported by a psychological, peer group-based intervention to enhance employees’ career management skills. This study was a randomized controlled trial in which 1119 graduates from business and administration and engineering streams (average age 49) participated. The results show that this intervention increased participation in higher education one year after the intervention. The fourth essay assesses the effects of general and vocational secondary education on cognitive skills and non-cognitive skills as measured by the Finnish Defence Forces Basic Skills Test. Our results show that there are large differences in both the cognitive and non-cognitive skills among the men whose education levels are different at the time of entering military service. However, our results also suggest that these differences are mainly due to their selection into different tracks and not a causal effect of schooling.

Keywords: general education; vocational education and training; labour market; access to employment; career; professional skills; competence development; postgraduate studying; lifelong learning; human capital; doctoral dissertations

Free keywords: human capital; life cycle; vocational education

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Last updated on 2023-21-08 at 13:43