European Perspectives on Labour Market Entry : A Matter of Institutional Linkages between Training Systems and Labour Markets?
The nature of the linkage of education and training systems to the labour market is often claimed to crucially affect labour market integration in modern economies. More specifically, most current comparative research assumes a more strongly qualification-based allocation in training systems allowing for early occupational specialization as compared to more experience-based allocation mechanisms where such arrangements are absent. Building on this basic idea, the paper develops a set of institutional predictions about consequences for patterns of labour market entry in these systems. This framework is then applied in exploratory analyses for twelve member states of the European Union. From these, three distinct patterns of early labour market experiences empirically emerge: first, a non-experience based pattern for those continental European countries with extensive vocational training systems, second, a strongly experience-based allocation pattern in those Northern European countries lacking such systems, and, finally, a particular and theoretically unexpected pattern among the group of Southern European countries. While the first contrast appears broadly consistent with current institutionalist arguments about the impact of interlinked training systems and labour markets, the explanation for the peculiarity of Southern Europe needs both further investigation and additional conceptual tools.