Vocational education is an important and well-established alternative to academic education. In most countries, the number of vocational graduates is now on par with that of academic graduates. In the case of China, there are approximately 11 million students graduating with vocational education qualifications annually, only slightly less than the around 12 million academic graduates per year.
Figure 1. The density of secondary vocational schools in China (More details in the paper)
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Recent research by the European Investment Bank indicates that workers in Europe spend less than 0.5% of their working time on training. This figure seems too low and indeed economics has long predicted some degree of under-provision of training. First, training is expensive for firms, as it entails significant direct and indirect costs. Second, employers know they will lose their investments in training if employees subsequently leave.
Public policy may play a role in alleviating the market failure that leads to such under-provision of training. The new working paper featured in this blog (‘Employee training and firm performance’) contributes empirical evidence to this question. The research evaluates the effects of a €200-million EU training grants scheme on different dimensions of firms.
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