Thijs Bol, C. Ciocca Eller, Herman G. van de Werfhorst, and Thomas A. DiPrete. 2019. “School-to-Work Linkages and Labor Market Earnings.” American Sociological Review , 84, 2, Pp. 275-307. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A recurring question in public and scientific debates is whether occupation-specific skills enhance labor market outcomes. Is it beneficial to have an educational degree that is linked to only one or a small set of occupations? To answer this question, we generalize existing models of the effects of (mis)match between education and occupation on labor market outcomes. Specifically, we incorporate the structural effects of linkage strength between school and work, which vary considerably across industrialized countries. In an analysis of France, Germany, and the United States, we find that workers have higher earnings when they are in occupations that match their educational level and field of study, but the size of this earnings boost depends on the clarity and strength of the pathway between their educational credential and the labor market. The earnings premium associated with a good occupational match is larger in countries where the credential has a stronger link to the labor market, but the penalty for a mismatch is also greater in such countries. Moreover, strong linkage reduces unemployment risk. These findings add nuance to often-made arguments that countries with loosely structured educational systems have more flexible labor markets and produce better labor market outcomes for workers. An institutional environment that promotes strong school-to-work pathways appears to be an effective strategy for providing workers with secure, well-paying jobs.
C. Ciocca Eller and Thomas A. DiPrete. 2018. “The Paradox of Persistence: Explaining the Black-White Gap in Bachelor’s Degree Completion.” American Sociological Review , 83, 6, Pp. 1171-1214. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Bachelor’s degree (BA) completion is lower among black students than among white students. In this study, we use data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, together with regression-based analytical techniques, to identify the primary sources of the BA completion gap. We find that black students’ lower academic and socioeconomic resources are the biggest drivers of the gap. However, we also find that black students are more likely to enroll in four-year colleges than are white students, given pre-college resources. We describe this dynamic as “paradoxical persistence” because it challenges Boudon’s well-known assertion that the secondary effect of educational decision-making should reinforce the primary effect of resource discrepancies. Instead, our results indicate that black students’ paradoxical persistence widens the race gap in BA completion while also narrowing the race gap in BA attainment, or the proportion of high school graduates to receive a BA. This narrowing effect on the BA attainment gap is as large or larger than the narrowing effect of black students’ “overmatch” to high-quality colleges, facilitated in part by affirmative action. Paradoxical persistence refocuses attention on black students’ individual agency as an important source of existing educational gains.
C. Ciocca Eller. 2017. “Increasing Success for Two-to-Four-Year Transfer Students within the City University of New York.”. Publisher's Version
Thomas A. DiPrete, Thijs Bol, C. Ciocca Eller, and Herman G. van de Werfhorst. 2017. “School-to-Work Linkages in the United States, Germany, and France.” American Journal of Sociology, 122, 6, Pp. 1869-1938. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A new research agenda is proposed for assessing the strength of linkages between educational credentials, including fields of study, and occupational positions. The authors argue that a theoretically fruitful conception of linkage strength requires a focus on granular structure as well as the macroinstitutional characteristics of pathways between education and the labor market. Building on recent advances in the study of multigroup segregation, the authors find that Germany has stronger overall linkage strength than France or the United States. However, the extent to which the three countries differ varies substantially across educational levels and fields of study. The authors illustrate the substantive importance of the new approach by showing, first, that the standard organization space/qualification space distinction poorly describes the contemporary difference between Germany and France and, second, that relative mean occupational wages in Germany and the United States vary directly with the relative linkage strength for occupations in the two countries.