In this talk, DiPrete draws on systematic analysis of cross-national data from the U.S., Germany, and France to ask: does learning occupation-specific skills enhance one's labor market outcomes? Is it beneficial to have an educational degree that is linked to only one or a small set of occupations? DiPrete argues that, because there is a great deal of variation in the strength of the education-labor market link across Western societies, the answers to these questions are highly dependent on how strongly linked the education system is to the labor market. Amid rising income inequality, an institutional environment that promotes strong school-to-work pathways appears to be an effective strategy for providing workers with secure, well-paying jobs.
Thomas A. DiPrete is Giddings Professor of Sociology, co-director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), co-director of the Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality at Columbia University, and a faculty member of the Columbia Population Research Center. DiPrete holds a B.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has been on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Duke University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison as well as Columbia. DiPrete’s research interests include social stratification, demography, education, economic sociology, and quantitative methodology. A specialist in comparative research, DiPrete has held research appointments at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, the Social Science Research Center – Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the University of Amsterdam. His recent and ongoing projects include the study of gender differences in educational performance, educational attainment, and fields of study, the determinants of college persistence and dropout in the U.S., a comparative study of how educational expansion and the structure of linkages between education and the labor market contribute to earnings inequality in several industrialized countries, and the study of how social comparison processes affect the compensation of corporate executives.
Moderated by Jayanti Owens, Mary Tefft and John Hazen White, Sr. Assistant Professor of Public and International Affairs and Sociology