Labour market experience, educational attainment and self-reported happiness: crowding-out amongst young people in Hong Kong

Stefan Kühner, Jin Jiang*, Zhuoyi Wen, Maggie Lau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent literature on education and work well recognises the ‘crowding-out perspective’ of how higher education expansion impacts the labour market experience of young people with different educational levels. However, the relationship between the labour market experience and young people’s self-reported happiness remains less well understood. This paper examines whether a ‘crowding out’ effect occurs amongst post-secondary degree-holders on the self-reported happiness of young people (aged 16-34) amidst increasing difficulties during their school-to-work transition. Drawing on a city-wide online survey in a leading global city, Hong Kong, statistical analysis shows that contrary to the mainstream ‘crowding out perspective’, self-reported happiness is lower amongst young people with high rather than low educational attainment. However, in the absence of a ‘happiness premium’ of educational attainment, young people in Hong Kong with secondary degrees or below are much more sensitive to adverse labour market experiences, such as unemployment, high job pressure and long working hours. No similar moderating effect of educational attainment is found on the relationship between the self-reported happiness of young people and regular work shifts. The implications of these findings on the ‘crowding out perspective’ for youth development policy within East Asia and Hong Kong productivist welfare paradigm are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • crowding-out perspective
  • Happiness
  • higher education
  • labour market experience
  • young people

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