Better late than never?

Better late than never?

Better late than never? School, training and work for late upper secondary school completers in the Nordic countries is a comparative Nordic study concerning young people who do not complete upper secondary schooling on regular time. The primary goal of the project is to analyse the consequences of late completion of upper secondary schooling, as compared to those of alternative trajectories.

The focus of the study is on the transitions of young people between different states inside and outside of the labour market. The population comprises all young people who have not completed upper secondary schooling within the standardised time (age 19/20). They will be followed over the following twelve years, up to the age of 31.

“The consequences” are defined as different labour market and welfare outcomes such as employment, education, unemployment, disability pension or an unspecified NEET status during these twelve years. The aim is also to include different quality aspects of the labour market outcome, notably pay, type of employment contracts, etc.

Two important questions motivate the study:

  • What is the reward for non-completers of completing a degree at a later point in time, as compared with non-completers following other trajectories, such as work, public training schemes (ALMPs), or having a NEET status?
  • What are the merits of a streamlined vocational school system with a focus on early completion, as compared with a dual system characterized by a more continuous relationship between schooling and work? A priori both systems can be justified for good reasons, on efficiency as well as on distributional grounds.

The project is collaboration between Rita Asplund and Pekka Vanhala, Etla, Karsten Albæk, The Danish National Centre for Social Research (SFI), Lena Lindahl, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), as well as Marte Strøm and Erling Barth, The Institute for Social Research (ISF), Norway. The project that is led by Erling Barth is a part of a larger research undertaking Education to work transitions: the role of work capacity, skills and health, which is headed by ISF with Research Professor Inés Hardoy in charge.

For the results, see IZA Discussion Paper No. 12560: Better Late Than Never? How Late Completion Affects the Early Careers of Dropouts

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