Our colleague Halvard Sandvik Jansen defended his doctoral dissertation “Empirical Essays on Health, Educational Attainment, and Labor Market Exclusion” for the degree of PhD at the University of Bergen. We congratulate Halvard on his work and the interesting findings!
The introduction of competitive bidding in the Norwegian bus industry has led to increased sick leave, increased receipt of disability pensions among bus drivers, and increased transitions to other occupations. This is the main conclusion of one of Halvard’s articles, revealing a cost of outsourcing that neither research nor policymakers have previously accounted for.
Halvard’s two other articles examine the relationship between health, progression, and social exclusion in the Norwegian school system. The background for these articles is that many young people do not complete upper secondary education within the specified timeframe, and many experience mental health issues during their school years.
One article investigates the effects of not being admitted to the desired upper secondary school and program in admission systems based on academic competition. Among those who do not gain admission to their desired school and program, there is a higher prevalence of mental health problems and a lower completion rate of upper secondary education. The negative effects are more significant for students in less densely populated areas with narrower educational offerings, suggesting the need for more flexible admission arrangements in such areas.
The last article explores the relationship between mental health and dropout rates in upper secondary school. Halvard demonstrates through a study of network effects that students’ mental health and the probability of dropping out can be influenced by the mental health of their peers. The effects vary significantly based on individuals’ health history, and the study includes a theoretical discussion of factors affecting healthcare utilization. Depression and anxiety are the determining diagnoses in the study, supporting the hypothesis that mental health issues can spread within social networks. Students with an immigrant background and girls appear to be particularly vulnerable. The findings regarding dropout rates are general, although the measured effects are small relative to individual factors.