A1 Journal article (refereed)
A tale of two trade-offs : Effects of opening pathways from vocational to higher education (2021)

Ollikainen, J.-P., & Karhunen, H. (2021). A tale of two trade-offs : Effects of opening pathways from vocational to higher education. Economics Letters, 205, Article 109945. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2021.109945

The research was funded by Strategic Research Council at the Research Council of Finland.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsOllikainen, Jani-Petteri; Karhunen, Hannu

Journal or seriesEconomics Letters



Publication year2021


Article number109945

PublisherElsevier BV

Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/82894


This paper studies the effects of a vocational secondary school reform implemented in Finland between 1999 and 2001. The reform extended vocational two-year programs to three years and made all graduates eligible to apply for university. For identification, we exploit the gradual implementation of the reform, and use a differences-in-differences approach and administrative register data up to 13 years after the reform. We find no long-term effect on enrollment in further education or labor market outcomes. However, our results illustrate that the reform increased the dropout probability. Thus, the benefits of opening pathways from vocational to higher education may be outweighed by the cost of a more demanding curriculum.

Keywordsreformseducation and trainingvocational education and trainingpostgraduate studyingextensioneffects (results)stoppagedropping outcosts

Free keywordsvocational education; reform; dropout; difference-in-differences

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:25