Youngsters and technology

A. de Grip*, E. Willems

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The decreasing number of students in technical studies becomes a major threat for technology-driven economic growth. In this paper, we analyse whether the choices of young people for technical studies or occupations are based on economic, socio-psychological, or other motives. Apart from the traditional human capital variables and personal and social background characteristics, we also link pupils’ vocational choices to their value-judgement with respect to technological development. We find that the choice for technical studies and jobs is only slightly affected by economic motives. Also negative views on the economic and social consequences of technological developments do not affect the choice for technical studies or jobs. Much more important reasons for not choosing a technical or science study are both poor school grades in maths and sciences and lack of interest in technological developments. Moreover, girls scarcely choose technical studies even if they have high grades in maths and sciences. Policies to increase the inflow of youngsters in technical studies should therefore focus on a long-term strategy that attempts to increase the interest of youngsters in technical issues. Moreover, policies should focus on girls with high grades in maths and sciences as a specific target group instead of mass campaigns focusing on the good employment opportunities of technical studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1781
Number of pages11
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


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