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Skill Transferability, Regret and Mobility ∗

By Lex Borghans and Bart Golsteyn


After graduation many students start working in sectors not related to their field of study and participate in training targeted at work in other sectors. In this paper we look at job mobility immediately after graduation from the perspective that educational choices have been made when these pupils had little experience with the actual working life in these professions. We develop a model in which students accumulate partially transferable human capital but also learn about their professional preferences at university and during the first years in the labor market. As a consequence, after graduation, these young workers might realize that working in another occupational field would better fit their preferences although they are better equipped to work in their own field. The empirical analysis reveals that the probability of switching increases the more graduates regret their educational choice and the more skills are transferable. When graduates leave their field of education, they take more education and face larger wage losses if transferability is lower

Topics: Theme, Occupational Choice and Mobility Keywords, Regret, Mobility, Skill transfer, education JEL codes, J24
Year: 2003
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