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Is a broader curriculum better?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Dolton


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There is now an overwhelming amount of international evidence on the returns to an additional year of education. However, there has been relatively little research into the impact of different types of education on students' labor market success. This paper seeks to fill this gap in the literature by evaluating the impact of different curricula options on students' subsequent earnings, focusing specifically on the issue of whether a broader curriculum at age 16-19 yields a higher return than a narrow curriculum. This issue of curriculum breadth has been the subject of much debate recently. In particular, commentators have questioned whether a broad curriculum, where students take a relatively larae number of different subjects (as in the US), produces students with the skills required by the labor market, as compared to education systems that focus on far fewer subjects at secondary school level (such as in the UK). In this paper we assess whether UK students who take a broader curriculum earn more than those who study a narrower range of subjects. Our results indicate that employers do not seem to reward individuals who take a broader curriculum at 16-19 more highly. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dolton PJ, Vignoles A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Economics of Education Review

Year: 2002

Volume: 21

Issue: 5

Pages: 415-429

ISSN (print): 0272-7757

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7382

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/S0272-7757(01)00046-2


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