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Tertiary education expansion and task demand: Does a rising tide lift all boats?

Tobias Schultheiss, Curdin Pfister (), Ann-Sophie Gnehm and Uschi Backes-Gellner
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Ann-Sophie Gnehm: University of Zurich

No 154, Economics of Education Working Paper Series from University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Abstract: We examine how tertiary education expansion affects the job opportunities for workers with and without that education. To identify causal effects, we leverage a quasi-exogenous establishment of universities of applied sciences (UASs), bachelor-granting three-year colleges that teach and conduct applied research. By applying machine-learning methods to job advertisement data, we analyze task content before and after the educational expansion. We find that in regions with the newly established UASs, not only jobs of the new UAS graduates but also jobs of those without the degree (i.e., middle-skilled workers with vocational training) contain more R&D tasks and their job descriptions become more like those of traditional university graduates. Further analyses suggest that these spillovers occur because UAS graduates with applied research skills build a bridge between university graduates and middle-skilled workers, facilitating the integration of middle-skilled workers into R&D tasks.

JEL-codes: I23 J23 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 58 pages
Date: 2018-07, Revised 2021-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-eur and nep-lma
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iso:educat:0154

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