The paper studies a unique education reform that decreased the length of secondary-level vocational education from 4 to 3 years, reducing the time spent on general subjects while keeping the time spent on vocational training. We use a difference-in-difference strategy by comparing reformed schools with early adopters before and after the reform. We find that students’ general skills have dropped considerably, but the probability of dropout has decreased, and the probability of getting a secondary qualification has increased. These results suggest that such a reform will have mixed labour market consequences, at least in the short run.
KEYWORDS: Vocational education reform, difference-in-differences, general skills, dropout
JEL CODES: I21, I28
A vocational education reform decreased the length of studies from 4 to 3 years,
It decreased time spent on general and kept time spent on vocational education
We compare early adopters to reformed schools before and after the reform
We show that the effects of the reform are mixed
General skills have decreased, but dropout decreased and graduation probability increased