With its recently announced strategy "Europe 2020", the European Union picks up two major challenges: transforming the economy into a knowledge society with innovation as the main driver of economic growth and cohering a population whose workforce is shrinking and aging. Two benchmarks of this strategy explicitly target the periods before and after formal school education, namely early education and workplace training. As these two fields are characterized by voluntary educational decisions, understanding the educational choices of individuals is of major policy concern for the implementation of effective policies. This dissertation includes five empirical papers. The first three papers concentrate on early education, with a special focus on center-based child care, since an adequate provision of child care is considered an important instrument to increase maternal labor force participation, to improve child development and to equalize educational opportunities. The first paper analyzes the German market for child care and assesses the consequences of mixed-market provision of child care for availability and quality. The second paper then estimates determinants of parental child care choice and particularly the impact of maternal working time. The third paper explores how early differences in age and development influence children's probability to be recommended for starting school and analyzes whether developmental gaps close by delaying school entry. The fourth and fifth paper provide evidence on workplace training as it is the major source of adult education once schooling is completed. The fourth paper contributes to the literature on the individual returns to training by estimating the differences in returns between general training and firm-specific training. Finally the fifth paper uses corporate personnel records to analyze the gender gap in training participation and training duration over age. This dissertation adds to the research in the fields of economics of education and personnel economics by analyzing determinants and returns of individual decisions in early childhood and throughout professional life. Since the five papers cover areas which are also subject to public investments and political reform efforts, the results contribute to improving efficiency and equality of educational outcomes.
Mühler, Grit (2010), Five Essays on Early Education and Workplace Training, Dissertation, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg,, Freiburg. Download