VET or general education? Effects of regional opportunity structures on educational attainment in German-speaking Switzerland

Glauser, David; Becker, Rolf (2016). VET or general education? Effects of regional opportunity structures on educational attainment in German-speaking Switzerland. Empirical research in vocational education and training, 8(8), pp. 1-25. Sense Publishers 10.1186/s40461-016-0033-0

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Background Regional opportunity structures have received little attention in research on educational aspirations and attainment. This papers aim is to address whether regional opportunity structures affect educational attainment at the transition from lower to upper secondary education net of institutional and individual effects. Related with this issue we also ask how opportunity structures influence pupils’ educational attainment. Methods We use data of the DAB panel study that contains information on pupils’ educational aspirations as well as their actual educational attainment immediately after as well as 15 months after leaving compulsory schooling (N = 2.192). In order to account for regional variation of the opportunity structures we construct one scaling variable based on principal component factor analysis and merge these with DAB data. In the scaling variable, various aspects of the regional labor market structures and conditions, as well as the diversity and extent of the supply of educational alternatives, are considered. Educational outcomes are analyzed using multinomial logistic regression models. Results Our results indicate, first, that the more extensive regional opportunity structures are, the higher the probability of pupils attending general education programs. In contrast, restricted opportunity structures increase pupils’ probability of attending VET. Second, regional opportunity structures are perceived, subjectively evaluated and organize a pupil’s set of feasible actions and educational attainment: on the one hand regional opportunity structures are correlated with pupils’ realistic educational aspirations. Once we control for educational aspirations the direct effects of opportunity structures on educational attainment after leaving compulsory schooling can be partially explained.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education > Sociology of Education
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education

UniBE Contributor:

Glauser, David and Becker, Rolf


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Sense Publishers




David Glauser

Date Deposited:

09 Aug 2016 08:08

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2017 15:58

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

School-to-work, Upper secondary education, Opportunity structures, Educational aspirations, Inequality of educational opportunities




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