Business-government cooperation in VET: a Russian experiment with dual education
Upgrading skill formation has become an increasingly urgent task for societies facing the challenges of rapid technological change and globalization. However, reform of systems of vocational education and training (VET) poses severe challenges for aligning the interests of schools, firms, households, and governments, even in societies with relatively efficient markets for labor and education. Where market institutions are poorly developed, these challenges are particularly acute, resulting in endemic mismatches between the supply and demand of skill. Currently governments in many countries, including the United States, Russia, and China, are seeking to adopt elements of the German dual education model. The Russian federal government has undertaken several initiatives designed to upgrade VET by encouraging closer cooperation of vocational schools and firms at the regional level, including the adoption of dual education programs. This paper focuses on one such project: a 2013 pilot program administered by the Russian Agency for Strategic Initiatives, to foster the development of new models of dual education. The paper compares the 13 pilot regions with regions that submitted proposals but were not selected and with all other regions along multiple economic, social, demographic, and institutional dimensions. The findings suggest hypotheses about the conditions that enabled the pilot regions to take advantage of federal policies encouraging the adoption of dual education. More generally, the paper sheds light on institutional solutions to collective action dilemmas in skill formation in transitional and developing societies.