Three contributions in applied microeconomics with a focus on vocational education and training

Making some adjustments to her bike
This dissertation examines the willingness of companies in Switzerland to provide workplace training as part of dual-track VET programmes. It considers the influence of immigration on training apprentices and asks why more companies in the German-speaking region of Switzerland take part in dual-track VET programmes than companies in the other linguistic regions of Switzerland. In addition, the dissertation also discusses how ‘mismatches’ between learnt and practised occupations affect individual wages.

This dissertation is divided into three separate chapters.

The first chapter looks at the influence of immigration on the willingness of companies in Switzerland to provide workplace training. The working hypothesis here is that an expansion of the labour supply resulting from immigration tends to partially offset the need for learners, first of all because foreign workers can directly replace apprentices who have reached the stage of their apprenticeship in which they are working productively and secondly because foreign workers lower the recruitment costs of Swiss companies, thus reducing their incentive to invest in training young people.

The second chapter considers the question of why companies in the German-speaking region of Switzerland tend to be more heavily involved in the provision of workplace training than companies in the other linguistic regions of Switzerland. This difference also is observed between companies that otherwise hardly differ at all as well as within bilingual cantons that share the same institutional framework. This dissertation examines the extent to which divergent attitudes (social norms) towards the distribution of tasks between public and private actors could explain why company involvement in workplace training differs across the Swiss linguistic divide. Voting outcomes show that people in the Romance-speaking regions of Switzerland (French, Italian- and Romansh) tend to regard the provision of services such as education, health insurance, maternity insurance and postal services to be a task of the state, whereas people in German-speaking region of Switzerland emphasise the commitment of private actors in the provision of these services. These different attitudes may explain why (private) commitment to workplace training in Switzerland differs to such a large extent between linguistic regions.

The final chapter leaves the apprenticeship market and looks at the regular labour market, asking the question: what impact has technological progress in recent years had on horizontal ‘mismatches’ within the labour force? A ‘mismatch’ is defined as a situation in which a person's learnt occupation differs from the person's actual occupation. Overall, such situations occur relatively frequently and are usually not associated with lower wages. However, mismatch situations can be problematic for people whose learnt occupations and skills can be increasingly substituted by new technologies.

Dissertation supervisors:


Standard econometric approaches (instrumental variables method, regression discontinuity design, fixed effect models).

In progress
1.1.2018 to 31.12.2021
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