March 20, 2018

Higher and Vocational Educational Attainment, Labour Market Outcomes, and Gender across the Life Course. A Canada/Germany Comparison

Seminar with Dr. Lesley Andres and Dr. Wolfgang Lauterbach
Tuesday, March 20th. 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Ponderosa Commons Oak House, Room 2012

Canada places high priority on post-secondary education as a key policy response to combat income inequality. However, since the 1980s, rising educational levels in Canada have coexisted with increased levels of income inequality. Recently, scholars have argued that an emphasis on more educational – in particular university – attainment may have the opposite effect and, in fact, fuel higher levels of inequality. In contrast, in Germany, the long term policy approach has been to place strong emphasis on both vocational training and university level education. Because vocational training programs are clearly connected to the requirements of employers and have been observed to correspond to lower unemployment rates in young adulthood, the German model of education is often viewed as a standard by policy makers to which Canada should strive. However, income inequity between graduates of vocational training programs and those of universities is an identified disadvantage of the German model. Although a few empirical studies exist, this is the first study to employ extensive comparative longitudinal data to determine the long term effects of educational and labour market trajectories on outcomes in relation to income inequality in Canada and Germany.
In this presentation, we employ a comparative life course approach to unravel the relationships among higher and vocational educational attainment, labour market outcomes, with a focus on gender inequality. We use data from the Paths on Life’s Way project in British Columbia, Canada and the German Pathways from Late Childhood to Adulthood: Context and Development in Adolescence as Predictors of Productive Life-Courses (LifE). Both studies have survey components, contain representative province (BC) and Lander (Hessen) wide samples, and span 28 and 33 years, respectively.

We use sequence analysis (SA) to document the life course trajectories of respondents to both the Paths and the LifE studies. Statistical clustering techniques are then used to reveal the most prominent patterns – by gender – and subsequent transitions will be employed. These techniques enable comparisons among groups in terms of educational and later labour market outcomes and income levels.

The detail contained in these studies will enable us to gain unique insights into the effects of educational and labour market policies of our respective countries in relation to Canadian and Germans’ lives across time.