Escaping into a master's degree in times of crisis? Master's degree applications and enrolment over the business cycle
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The consequences of graduating in a recession could be severe and long-lasting. Bachelor's graduates can, however, avoid entering the labour market by continuing their education. Using a Norwegian dataset containing information on all graduates and their applications to and enrolment in master's degree programmes over a 15-year period, we find that a one percentage point increase in the field-specific unemployment rate results in a 6.5 percentage points increase in applications and a 3.9 percentage points increase in enrolment. Moreover, using a survey of the 2020 bachelor's graduates cohort, that is, the Covid-19 cohort, we find evidence indicating that those pushed into a master's degree by conditions in the labour market differ substantially from those whose decision to enrol in a master's degree is not driven by labour market conditions.