Does initial vocational training foster the innovativeness on business level? – Evidence from German establishment data

Published: 19-04-2021| Version 4 | DOI: 10.17632/cgk5npmks2.4
Eike Matthies,
Joerg Thomae,
Katarzyna Haverkamp,
Kilian Bizer


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 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). The empirical analysis rests on cross-sectional data from the IAB Establishment Panel (wave 2017; DOI: 10.5164/ The IAB panel is an annual representative employer survey on various topics such as the determinants of labour demand. We analyzed the IAB data via remote data access. In this repository, the three Stata Do-Files used for the empircal analysis are provided: 1. Data preperation Do-File 2. Analysis Do-File for the whole sample 3. Analysis Do-File for SMEs The data of the 2017 wave of the IAB Establishment Panel is available at the Research Data Centre (FDZ) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB). For furter information see