Matthies, Eike Haverkamp, Katarzyna Thomä, Jörg Bizer, Kilian
Year of Publication:
ifh Working Paper No. 30/2021
While an increasing number of conceptual studies postulate that vocational education and training (VET) activities have a positive impact on the innovative capacity of training companies, empirical evidence on the subject remains scarce. This study exploits establishment data from a representative survey of German companies to estimate the effects of firms' participation in initial VET on their innovation outcomes. The results based on linear probability models and instrumental variable regressions with entropy balancing show that the impact of VET activity on innovation is more ambiguous than postulated. Overall, the participation in initial VET has virtually no effect on product innovation and radical novelties. For the total population of all German companies, the positive impact of VET activities is only observable in case of process innovation. However, our results point to significant causal effects on the innovative capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We conclude that companies' participation in the VET system facilitates organizational learning in training companies and knowledge transfer from VET institutions to those enterprises, which are otherwise more likely to be detached from modern technology networks. The paper concludes with implications for policy and research.
education apprenticeship training modes of innovation innovation without R&D SMEs