Social origins, track choices and labour-market outcomes: evidence from the French case

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This paper examines the consequences of following an academic versus vocational path in upper secondary school in France in terms of job attainment and earnings at the entrance into the labour market.

Using rich nationally representative longitudinal data running from the beginning of secondary education until entrance into the labour market, the researchers identify the consequences of track placement in high school on various labour-market outcomes controlling for social and academic selection into tracking.

The research shows that young people who followed academic diplomas were considerably more likely to move into service-class or professional administrative and managerial type jobs compared with their peers who were placed on a vocational course, even when a range of other background and higher education factors were taken into account.

The researchers conclude that vocational education in France seems to effectively contribute to intergenerational social reproduction, while failing to represent a rewarding alternative to the academic path.

This is part of a special issue prepared by the LIFETRACK project. Other articles of this special issue can be found here.