chapter  5
Statistical/econometric tools to analyse the effectiveness of cooperative education (1) Interactive mechanism and its factors around
Pages 12

The theoretical analysis of cooperative education has been dealt with extensively in the disciplines other than economics particularly in psychology and education, where concepts such as Kolb’s experiential learning (Kolb, 1984), Dewey’s learning model (Dewey, 1916), Lewin’s action research (Lewin, 1946), and Piaget’s learning and cognitive development (Piaget, 1985) appear, as has been briefl y introduced in Chapter 2 . Such theories can suggest mechanisms by which cooperative education brings about its effects on academic performance and on employment outcome. However, one may need to know to what extent it works as much as how it works. This has a practical implication. Often the outcome of educational input requires a long time to materialize. This makes it diffi cult to pinpoint the causal relationship, and cooperative education is no exception. The practitioners of cooperative education are well aware of the labour-intensive nature of the programme, which can cause a considerable fi nancial burden to whoever runs it. In order to convince the bearer of the programme, be it the university administration, the government, or students, that such a programme is worthwhile, it needs to prove its cost-effectiveness. Following the human capital theory introduced in Chapters 3 and 4 , one may show that the present value of lifetime wage profi le differentials between a coop graduate and non-coop graduate more than offsets the cost of cooperative education. If this holds, then the cooperative programme can show its raison d’être, particularly to the university administration to support it, the government to fund it, and potential students to undertake it. However, the existing data on wages may not have information on coop experience alongside age, gender, years of working experience, and educational level.