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Evidence on the Returns to Secondary Vocational Education

Apr 2005
Working Paper
04-014
By  Jonathan Meer
Vocational education in high schools has frequently been stigmatized as an anachronistic, dead-end path for students. We use data from the National Education Longitudinal Survey of 1988 to examine claims that students on a vocational track would benefit from a more academically rigorous education. Clearly, selection bias confounds attempts to untangle the effects of academic tracking on income after high school. Using an econometric framework that accounts for this bias, we find evidence of comparative advantage in tracking.