Essays in Economics of Education and Migration


In the first essay, I analyse the effects of changing a student admission system such that it prioritizes admission to more-preferred schools. A reform in 2004 changed the algorithm used to match applicants to secondary schools in Finland so that applicants were granted priority points for tracks they ranked first or second. I estimate empirically the effect of this reform and use simulations to corroborate my findings. I find that the reform increased the number of applicants who were admitted to the school they ranked highest on their application. This did not, however, decrease dropout rates. The findings suggest that admission mechanisms aiming to mechanically increase the likelihood to be matched with a higher-ranked program may make applying more difficult without having positive effects on educational outcomes.

In the second essay, we examine the impact of exposure to immigrants during childhood on natives’ marriage behaviour when they are adults. We use extremely high-resolution spatial data on where everyone in Finland born between 1977 and 1999 grew up to calculate the share of immigrants among each individual’s immediate neighbourhood, and then use naturally exogenous acrosscohort within-location variation in immigrant shares to examine the impact of childhood exposure. We show that greater immigrant contact as a child significantly increases the probability that a native will marry an immigrant as an adult. Further results suggest that changes in attitudes or preferences are likely to drive at least part of this result.

The third essay analyses the challenge of recruiting and retaining high-quality professionals in the public sector. In the essay, I examine this question by analysing careers of early childhood education (ECE) teachers in Finland. Leveraging comprehensive administrative data from 2007 to 2020, I analyse teacher shortages, regional disparities, career trajectories, and compensation trends. I find persistent shortages of qualified ECE teachers, with significant proportions pursuing alternative public sector roles despite similar compensation. In contrast to previous literature on the quality of public sector services, I find no evidence that ECE teacher quality is affected by changes in the business cycle. The results suggest that factors affecting shortages are not limited to wage gaps between relevant outside options or the availability of alternative employment.

Julkaisun tietoja

Economics, Education, Migration
0356-7435 (printed)
978-951-628-766-2 (printed)
978-951-628-767-9 (pdf)
Julkaisu ladattavissa