Education and Life Chances

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2011
End date: 31/12/2013
Funding: 3670000 SEK


Why does education have a strong correlation with occupation, income, health and longevity? In this project we will try to distinguish between explanations suggested in the literature. These include the human capital hypothesis, whereby individuals through education become more productive and therefore paid higher by employers. According to the signal hypothesis education gives employers a signal of positive characteristics, which need not be the consequences of education. The signal may relate to intellectual ability, endurance and other characteristics such as whether you prefer a reward now or a, possibly larger, reward later. If employers assume that women will require more time off than men, sex can also act as a signal. Individuals' social background affects both how much education individuals receive, and which profession they subsequently come to work in and may thus explain part of the relationship between education and life chances. With the help of register information from several sources, we will examine to what extent the relationship between education on the one hand, and occupation, salary, health and mortality risk on the other, is consistent with these hypotheses. In doing so, we will use regression models to examine the strength of the link between education and the various aspects of individuals’ life chances, when we control for social background and test results. Other variables to be included in the analysis are individuals’ age, when they underwent their training and where they carried out any tertiary education. As sex could be a signal to employers, analyzes will be conducted separately for men and women. School reforms will also be used to examine the role of education. By comparison with other European countries, the possible importance of characteristics of educational systems will be investigated.

Last updated on 2017-29-03 at 17:13