Research Programme




  Work in Progress



Research Programme

Specific Analyses of Youth Labour Market Integration in CEE countries using School-Leaver-Survey and other Data (Journal Article Publications)

Besides preparing the edited volume “Making the transition”, we have started to analyze more specific aspects of youth labour market integration in some CEE countries largely using school-leaver survey data. Results have been (/will be soon) submitted as articles to international journals.

Article “Expansion, diversification and marketization of tertiary education and their impact on youths’ employment entry chances in CEE.” (by Noelke/Gebel/Kogan)
CEE countries provide interesting case studies in view of their variation in processes of higher education expansion, differentiation and marketization. Drawing on national longitudinal and retrospective life history data, we analyze the performance of higher education graduates at labour market entry. Our results show clear evidence that higher education expansion, differentiation and marketization shape inequality patterns between different tertiary graduates groups as well as compared to upper secondary school graduates.

Article “Educational expansion and social inequality in Central and Eastern European countries" (by Kogan/Gebel/Noelke/)
CEE countries provide an interesting case study in view of their variation in processes of post-secondary education expansion and differentiation as well as their degree of vocational orientation at the secondary level. Drawing on national micro data, we find that students from disadvantaged family backgrounds who manage to enter post-secondary education are "diverted" to second-tier post-secondary institutions, while long-term university programs are more dominated by students whose parents have an academic background. At the secondary level, we confirm the pattern of negative selection of students from lower social backgrounds into lower vocational programs, which is well known for Western European countries. Interestingly, this diversion effect at the secondary level is especially pronounced in CEE countries that inherited a strong secondary vocational system.

Article “Does Diversification really matter? An analysis of labour market entry of higher education graduates in Ukraine and Poland.” (by Baranowska/Gebel)
With the liberalization of markets and education systems, private higher education providers emerged in CEE in order to satisfy the increasing individual demand for higher education. The economic transformation crises after the fall of socialism affected also the public higher education sector and led to disproportional fiscal cuts. In reaction, public higher education institutions introduced instruments of marketization by charging fees from certain groups of students, particularly part-time students. We explore whether the emergence of private providers and tuition-based public study places introduced new lines of differentiation within the highly differentiated Polish and Ukrainian post-secondary education.

Article “All or nothing: the consequences of tertiary education non-completion in Croatia and Serbia.” (by Matkovic/Kogan)
This article explores the effects of tertiary education dropout on the young people's early labour market careers in Croatia and Serbia. It derives the labour market consequences of dropping out from human capital, signalling and credentialist theories. Then, it elaborates how prominence of any given mechanism within any given country should be conditional on institutional setup of employment systems. Our country choice is driven by the two countries’ almost identical education system set-ups but their diverging labour market trajectories, allowing for inferences about institutional effects. Our results largely support the predictions on the underlying mechanisms of education being used as a signal in the countries with predominantly internal labour markets (as in Croatia) and the productive skills mechanisms of education more spread in the countries with pronounced external labour markets (as in Serbia).  

Article “Tell me whom you know… Personal contacts and job entry in Eastern European countries.” (by Kogan/Matkovic/Baranowska/Gebel)
The aims of this paper are, firstly, to explore the role of the social contacts at the micro-level dynamics of the transition from school to work and, second, to compare these micro effects across CEE countries with various levels of market development. In particular the paper looks at the role of the social connections for several early career labour market outcomes, i.e. the speed of job entry, job status and job match to education, in four Central and Eastern European countries: Serbia, Croatia, Poland and Ukraine. The countries analysed in the paper represent the variety in starting conditions, transformation trajectories and institutions observed in the region. Our hypotheses as for varying effects of social contacts in the CEE countries with different levels of market penetration are supported by the data from school-leaver surveys for the four countries included.

Article “Informal employment at labour market entry. A comparative study of Croatia, Poland and Ukraine.” (by Baranowska/Gebel/Matkovic)
We provide first empirical evidence on the determinants and early career consequences of informal employment in early labour careers of graduates in Croatia, Poland, and Ukraine. While the share of informal first jobs is highest in Ukraine, the country with the worst institutional mix of high taxes, low policy quality and widespread corruption, we find similar allocation patterns into informal jobs based on individual resources and employer's characteristics in all three countries. Furthermore, we can show that career damages in terms of lower employment and formal employment chances are most pronounced in Poland, while in Ukraine, the informal sector seems to provide a "parallel economy" of rather secure (or repeated) informal jobs but also lower upward mobility into formal jobs.

Article “The role of fixed-term contracts at labour market entry in Poland: Stepping stones, screening devices, traps or search subsidies?” (Baranowska/Gebel/ Kotowska)
Poland has become an interesting outlier in Europe in terms of employment flexibility, with an extremely high incidence of fixed-term contracts, particularly at labour market entry. We find that neither firm-based vocational training nor diplomas from more selective tertiary education institutions provide graduates better access to secure entry positions. Regarding exit dynamics, transition patterns from fixed-term contracts into unemployment suggest that the timing of exits often coincides with the date of becoming eligible to collect unemployment benefits. The results also imply that, in Poland, fixed-term contracts might serve employers by helping them to identify the best workers.

Article “How to best prepare non-college bound youth for the labor market? Hungary as a test case.” (Noelke/Horn)
Hungary represents a unique test case to assess how non-college-bound youth can be prepared best for a successful transition from school to work. This issue is of crucial importance across advanced countries, since non-college-bound youth have experienced substantial deterioration of labour market outcomes over the past four decades. In particular, vocational education has received a lot of attention as a bridge for young people into secure, skilled employment. However, questions remain about optimal ways of organizing vocational programs, particularly regarding the extent of or the need for employer involvement in the provision of vocational training. Following the move towards capitalism, the Hungarian system of vocational education witnessed drastic reforms in this regard. Within a short period of time, many employers withdrew from providing training to vocational school students, which had been common practice under socialism. In consequence, training was increasingly offered within school workshops. Using cohort data on the extent of employer- vs. school-provided training measured at the level of the 20 Hungarian counties, we assess whether the substitution of school-based with enterprise-base training was of any consequence for the labour market prospect of Hungarian vocational school students. Controlling for unobserved cohort, period and county effects, as well as time-varying county-specific economic conditions, we find no evidence that cohorts experiencing training in schools rather than enterprises have experienced worse labour market outcomes.