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Is a broader curriculum better?


Economics of Education Review Volume 21, Number 5 ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


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 large 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.


Dolton, P.J. & Vignoles, A. Is a broader curriculum better?. Economics of Education Review, 21(5), 415-429. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved October 16, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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