5 Levels of Education

Passing from mostly compulsory to non-compulsory education levels effects of vocational training and higher education are the mostly evaluated topics. Psacharopoulos has contributed many studies to the topic of vocational education, including the editing of a whole special issue on the topic (Psacharopoulos 1988). Dearden, McIntosh, Myck and Vignoles (2000) estimate returns to vocational qualifications in Britain. In terms of tertiary education at the university level, Hartog and Oosterbeek (1998) study the reasons why one may pursue a higher education, Becker (2001) studies why many Italians fail to finish university, and Dolton, Greenaway and Vignoles (1997) present a future economic perspective of higher education in Britain. Wolter and Weber (1998) deal with the financing of universities, and Leuven, Oosterbeek and van der Klaauw (2003) perform a randomized experiment on the effect of financial rewards on the achievement of economics students at the University of Amsterdam.

In some more recent studies Oosterbeek and Webbink (2007) study wage effects of an extra year of vocational education. Analyzing effects of tertiary education Brunello and Cappellari (2008) evaluate whether the specific college attended matters for labour market success and Brunello, de Paola and Scoppa (2009) deal with peer effects in higher education. Boarini and Strauß provide estimates on the private internal rates of return to tertiary education for 21 OECD Countries. Ferreira and Farkas (2009) study effects of the introduction of a student loan scheme in Hungary‘s higher education system.

This is also one of the main research fields of our new senior expert Reinhilde Veugelers from Belgium. She has studied a broad range of questions with one special focus on analysing European university systems in the presence of the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Agenda (see for example van der Ploeg and Veugelers 2008a and 2008b).

Knowledge about economic aspects of pre-school education in Europe is still scarce. The economics of early childhood education and day care is of utmost importance to future educational achievements (Psacharopoulos 1982) and much work has recently been done on this topic in the United States. In the meantime, some European studies corroborate the importance of early childhood education. Schütz et al. (2008) show that extensive early preschool education tends to increase equality of opportunity in educational systems. Leuven, Lindahl, Oosterbeek and Webbink (2009) show with Dutch data that early schooling at the age of 4 has positive effects on early cognitive development of disadvantaged children. Datta Gupta, Smith and Verner (2008) study the effects of Nordic countries’ family policies on publicly-provided child care facilities (among other outcomes), one ingredient of a functioning pre-school system.



5a Pre-school education
5b Primary school
5c Secondary school
5d Vocational education
5e Tertiary (university) education