The tertiarisation of the economy, advances in new technologies and transformations in the organisation of work represent a challenge for governments. They have been able to anticipate public education policy to these changes. Our goals is to summarize the actively advanced ideas, findings and difficulties in the examination of the relation between education policies and labor market in two countries of European Community: France and Spain.
The theoretical framework is provided by the human capital theory (Becker, Mincer...) and the literature about over-education (Sicherman, Groot, Verdugo and Verdugo, Rumberger...). The different papers about over-education use two methods to justify over or under-education: the return rate of education and the matching between actual schooling level and job requirements (Sicherman). Our analysis approaches the second issue. The particularity of our approach comes from the study of the evolution of schooling level and experience (approximated by the age) of all the labor force during the last decade.
The first part of our empirical approach focuses on the explanation of the evolution of the labor force by age, job, and schooling level in France and Spain with data analysis methods and RAS model. We can separate the effect of public education policy (institutional increase of the schooling level) and labor demand effect. The first results of our research team show that the effect of public education policy is very high in France and it is greater than the labor demand effect resulting from firms and technology. Moreover, between 1982 and 1990, the results are very amazing: if we omit the effect of the institutional growth of schooling: the level of schooling decreases for the qualified workers and increases for the unqualified worker. What kind of results may we find in Spain in a different context?
The second part of our empirical approach, more qualitative, must take into account a study of the public education policy evolution and its institutional framework in a comparative perspective. We want to show that the labor market adjustments to the public education policy depend on social, economic (firm with internal market, firm with high technology), cultural and institutional environment (especially, the consequences of public policy decentralisation). This comparative research on policy shows the capacity of educational system anticipation and the impact of the different policies on the labor demand.