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The Relative Returns to Education, Experience, and Attractiveness for Young Workers

Emily Beam (), Joshua Hyman () and Caroline Theoharides ()
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Joshua Hyman: University of Connecticut
Caroline Theoharides: Amherst College

No 10537, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract: Understanding employer preferences for characteristics of young workers is crucial to designing effective policies to reduce youth unemployment in developing countries. We conduct a randomized resume audit study, simultaneously examining the returns to education, experience, and physical attractiveness among young workers applying for entry-level jobs in a developing country context. Employers do not value college experience without a degree. Postsecondary vocational training increases the likelihood of a callback, but only for blue-collar occupations typically offered only to male workers. Work experience is valued across most occupations; however, among service-sector jobs with in-person customer interactions, attractive applicants receive 23 percent more callbacks, swamping the returns to experience. Our results can guide policymakers in the design of labor market programs to reduce youth unemployment as well as help young workers make optimal choices to ease their school-to-work transition.

Keywords: returns to education; school-to-work transition; audit study; labor demand; returns to experience; attractiveness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J23 J24 J70 C93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hrm and nep-lma
Date: 2017-01
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