Educational Systems and Labour Markets in Central and Eastern Europe

Research question/goal: 

The overarching goal of the project has been to understand how transformation in Central and Eastern Europe has affected young people's entry into working life. The initial project stage focused on descriptive analyses of education systems, labor market and welfare regimes in the ten post-socialist EU accession countries. Results were published at Policy Press as a handbook titled "Europe Enlarged". During the main project phase, we conducted in-depth analyses of educational attainment and labor market entry in ten CEE countries using longitudinal individual data. The main research questions focus on the role education systems play in preparing young people for the transition from school to work, and whether this role has been changing in the course of the transformation from socialism to capitalism. Despite rapid structural change and declining employer participation, vocational education at the secondary level still facilitates a rapid entry into first employment. Failing to complete any secondary education, however, is associated with increasing labor market disadvantages. Despite rapid growth of higher education sectors in a number of countries, tertiary graduates have been the main winners of transformation. Nevertheless, we also observed considerable inequalities in terms of attaining different tertiary degrees as well as heterogeneities in the returns to different degrees. The main outcome of this project stage is an edited volume "Making the Transition", forthcoming in the Social Inequality series as Stanford University Press. Beyond the formal end of the project, work on these topics continues through a number of collaborative publication projects.

Fact sheet

2005 to 2010
Data Sources: 
European Union Labour Force Survey (EULFS), retrospective/panel data for selected CEE countries
Geographic Space: 
Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and EU-15



Kogan, Irena, Clemens Noelke and Michael Gebel (Eds.) (2011): Making the Transition: Education and Labor Market Entry in Central and Eastern Europe. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [Studies in Social Inequality] more
Kogan, Irena, Michael Gebel and Clemens Noelke (Eds.) (2008): Europe Enlarged: A Handbook of Education, Labour and Welfare Regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. Bristol: Policy Press. more