In many countries high school students visit job information centers before they graduate. They learn about job prospects, earnings and prerequisites of their desired job, as well as about local labor market conditions. This information is supposed to help teenagers choose their future occupation more wisely.
In a new IZA Discussion Paper, Nils Saniter and Thomas Siedler analyze the effect of visiting job information centers in Germany, which many students have to visit together with their classmates and teacher. The authors find that visiting the centers often pays off for students.
The authors exploit the fact that only about half of the German districts run a center and that there was a staggered introduction of centers across districts starting in 1976. Saniter and Siedler show that a student growing up in a district with a center is 7-12 percent more likely to graduate with Abitur, the highest German school degree. Also, the likelihood of attaining the lowest degree (Hauptschulabschluss) decreases, which is another indication for upward educational mobility.
Moreover, the students exposed to centers experience a smoother transfer into the labor market: the probability of becoming involuntarily unemployed during the first five years decreases by 8-10percent. The are also on average 2.8 months longer full-time employed than students without a center nearby. The authors conclude that job information centers contribute significantly to a better matching of occupational features with students’ interests.