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How Important Is Secondary School Duration for Postsecondary Education Decisions? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Tobias Meyer and Stephan Thomsen ()

Journal of Human Capital, 2016, vol. 10, issue 1, 67 - 108

Abstract: To enable earlier graduation, most German states have abolished the final year of secondary schooling while leaving the curriculum unchanged. We evaluate how this reform affects postsecondary education decisions using primary data from the state of Saxony-Anhalt. In this state, the reform was implemented in a very short time, providing a natural experiment. The results show heterogeneous effects according to gender. Females delay university enrollment and are more likely to start vocational education. The reform also changes the pattern of university subject choice. These findings can be attributed to an orientation effect and a performance effect inherent in the reform effect.

Date: 2016
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