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Somers M., Cabus S.: Why Do Students Enroll in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)? Evidence from a Large-Scale Targeted Intervention in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

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Working Paper

STEM-fields of study offered in vocational education and training suffer from low student enrolment, while, at the same time, many job opportunities are available for STEM graduates on the labour market. This study examines the effectiveness of a five-day study choice programme conducted in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area in the schoolyear 2014-15. The goal of this intervention was to encourage students from pre-vocational education to choose for STEM in vocational education and training. We analyse the effect of the intervention by using a difference-in-differences analysis in combination with matching estimation techniques. The results indicate that higher participation rates in the intervention significantly increased enrolment in STEM among native Dutch male students with +0.1 percentage points in the year after the intervention, and compared to students from control schools and to STEM enrolment rates from the previous academic year. For male students with a migrant background, attending an intervention school reduced the likelihood to enrol in STEM with -3.9 percentage points.

Keywords: Study choice; STEM; labour demand; labour supply; mismatch

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