Empirical Economics

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 1229–1270 | Cite as

The effects of workplace learning in higher education on employment and match quality: is there an early-career trade-off?

  • Dieter Verhaest
  • Stijn Baert


We investigate whether the choice for a higher education program with a substantial workplace learning component entails an early-career trade-off between on the one hand higher employment chances and better initial matches (when opting for a program with workplace learning) and on the other hand a lower risk of bad match persistence (when opting for a program without workplace learning). To this end, we rely on longitudinal data of Belgian graduates that track their careers up until the age of 29. We model the program choice, the transition to a good match and the preceding transition to a bad match simultaneously. To account for non-random selection into programs and into bad matches, the Timing of Events method is combined with an exclusion restriction. After accounting for observed and unobserved heterogeneity, we do not find evidence for a trade-off. This result contributes to the debate about the efficiency of vocationalizing tertiary education programs through the implementation of workplace learning.


Vocational education Academization Workplace learning Mismatch Underemployment School-to-work transition 

JEL Classification

I21 J24 J62 J64 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Business, Campus Brussels, ECON Research GroupKU LeuvenBrusselBelgium
  2. 2.Leuven Economics of Education Research (LEER)KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.SHERPPAGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, SHERPPAGhent UniversityGentBelgium
  5. 5.Department of SociologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  6. 6.IRESUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  7. 7.IZABonnGermany

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