Essays on the economics of education and labour -PhD thesis-
Chapter 1 provides the first evaluation of a recent educational reform in England which reduced the content of the mathematics module studied by pupils aged 16-18. Using the National Pupil Database we look at the reform's impact on the probability that secondary school students will choose mathematics, and their attainment. We use information on previous academic achievement and other individual characteristics to understand which students have been mostly affected. We show that this reform sheds new light on one of the most important questions in education research: why women are less represented in STEM fields. In Chapter 2, we exploit variation in the labour demand to investigate whether the first job destination of graduates from different socio-economic backgrounds is differently affected by the business cycle. We use the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey and the Labour Force Survey across the period 2003-12. When the labour market is tight graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to choose to study for a professional qualification. Those who become active labour market participants have more trouble finding a job, and those who find employment experience lower job quality. We provide evidence of the importance of social capital in explaining these findings. In Chapter 3 we contribute to a recent branch of the economic literature on how social integration affects labour market opportunities. This literature compares the labour market outcomes of ethnic minorities who are in a co-ethnic partnership to those who choose a partner in the majority population . An important pre-requisite of these analyses is the extent to which these two types of partnerships can be compared. We analyse this hypothesis formally using a propensity score approach in Understanding Society data. The characteristics of these partnerships are such that they should not be compared even within narrowly defined subgroups.
University of Essex Research Repository - http://repository.essex.ac.uk/19999/