Educational Expansion, Skill-biased Technological Change and Occupational Returns to Education. A Trend Analysis of Tertiary Graduates’ Employment Outlook
Against the background of educational expansion and skill-biased technological change the dissertation project addresses the question to what extent these interacting developments have an impact on occupational returns to education in the course of time. Particular attention is attached to the analysis of new occupational fields or occupations emerging due to rising skill requirements that are relevant for graduates from higher education. In contrast to the current state of research the dissertation project intends to investigate the long-term development over several decades as well as the change in recent years based on long-lasting Mikrocensus-serials. The first project phase is dedicated to the creation of a database, the collection of relevant literature and the elaborate investigation of developments both in the higher education system and in the occupational structure or labour market. The central analyses are engaged in the consideration of absolute as well as relative occupational returns (social class, occupational status, unemployment) over time. Subsequently, deepening research focuses on gender differences and differences between different types of tertiary degrees in the temporal development of occupational outcomes. The obtained results ought to clarify whether there is a devaluation of tertiary education over time. Additionally, the project tries to detect possible changes in the degree of association between educational and occupational system net of structural developments. On the one hand, the acquired knowledge is supposed to fill substantial research gaps in Germany. On the other hand, it should give direct policy implications for educational planning with regard to prospective educational supply and demand.
In the first half of 2012 the dissertation project conducted the last part of its program and analyzed changes in the effect of the field of study on labor market returns over the course of time. In the second half the project compiled all the work from the last three years into one monograph.