Unfit or unqualified? Understanding the impact of health and qualifications on school and labour market exclusion

In this project we address the interplay between health, qualifications, and labour market outcomes. We analyse these mechanisms in two different settings: i) for employed workers who experience restructuring and whose qualifications and health endowment are potentially excluding factors , and ii) for young people who are in the process of acquiring essential formal qualifications and who may be hampered by factors outside of their control. The project is organised into five work packages (WPs).

The first WP deals with restructuring; by analysing the introduction of competitive tenders in local public transportation. Here we aim at studying health, sickness absence and labour market exit for employees exposed to increased competition compared to colleges who were not, before and after re-organisation.

In WP 2 we will examine the importance of health on the likelihood of leaving or staying during a period of downsizing. In this work package we will exploit the sudden and unexpected downsizing of the petroleum sector.

In the remaining three WPs we analyse causes and consequences of school dropout by studying three presumably exogenous dropout predictors: Health at birth (measured by birth weight), school quality, and local variation in the probability of being offered apprenticeship contract. The dropout variation caused by these predetermined variables is then, in subsequent steps, utilised in the estimation of effects from dropout, on outcomes like mental health, social insurance uptake, and labour market exclusion.

The research team has access to high-quality longitudinal register data for all Norwegian inhabitants, recently extended with detailed information on education and health. The methodological problems are approached in all work packages by identifying treatment and control groups. On this background we aim at identifying causal relationships, but also qualitative analysis is used to enrich and inform register based analysis in the project.