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The effects of sectoral economic conditions on the education decisions of students

13rd National Competition for Economic Research Grants

Economics of Education

Senior Researcher : Jennifer Graves

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Abstract

The aim of this project is to estimate the effect of the economic conditions of the different sectors of activity in each country on students' choice of university studies. 
Our project focuses fundamentally on analysing this aspect because we believe that this question has valuable implications for economic policy. The measures that could have the greatest impact on aligning academic training with what is required by the labour market could be implemented in a more efficient manner in the stages prior to the specialisation of the worker, and not once resources have already been spent on that training. Ascertaining these effects is of crucial importance in enabling society to align training of workers with real labour demands, and so that students, in turn, can find jobs in accordance with their qualifications, which would mean a reduction in unemployment and greater efficiency in the use of educational resources.

To achieve these objectives, we will use data from the PIAAC from 2012, which contains detailed information about education and work of the populations of the OECD countries, and we will combine them with economic variables by country. In addition to making separate estimations, as we have data from a number of countries, we can make comparisons among them in order to better understand the factors which could influence that relation. Finally, an additional contribution of the project will be to estimate the returns for students of incorporating precise information about the situation of each sector of activity into their education decisions and what differences exist among countries. This additional contribution will make it possible to know the potential macroeconomic implications discussed previously in terms of the aggregated levels of unemployment, the speed of transmission of the structural changes and long-term economic growth.

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