Abstract

This paper examines the relative benefits of general education and vocational training during Romania's transition to a market economy. We examine a 1973 educational reform that shifted a large proportion of students from vocational training to general education. Using census and household survey data, we analyze the effect of this policy with a regression discontinuity design. We find that men affected by the policy are significantly less likely to work in manual or craft-related occupations but have similar levels of labor market participation and earnings compared to their counterparts unaffected by the policy. We conclude that differences in labor market returns between graduates of vocational and general schools are largely driven by selection.

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