Brecht Neyt

PhD student at Ghent University


Economics of Education – Labour Economics –
Applied Econometrics – Dating Behaviour

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About


I am a third-year PhD student in Economics at Ghent University under supervision of prof. dr. Stijn Baert. I am part of the key research area 'Labour Economics and Welfare'.

In my PhD thesis I examine the effect of various decisions in education
(ranging from the decision to (i) do student work, (ii) enrol in vocational education, (iii) do an internship, and (iv) follow a STEM course) on later schooling and labour market outcomes. As a somewhat related odd duckling, I examine the returns to education on the (online) dating market.

  Education

2016–present - PhD student

  Department of Economics, Ghent University

2015–2016 - M.Sc. Banking and Finance

  Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University

2014–2015 - M.Sc. Business Administration

  Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University

2011–2014 - B.Sc. Business Administration

  Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University

Research

PUBLICATIONS

Does Student Work Really Affect Educational Outcomes? A Review of the Literature

with Eddy Omey (UGent), Dieter Verhaest (KU Leuven), and Stijn Baert (UGent)

Journal of Economic Surveys, 33(3), 896–921

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We review the theories put forward, methodological approaches used, and empirical conclusions found in the multidisciplinary literature on the relationship between student employment and educational outcomes. A systematic comparison of the empirical work yields new insights that go beyond the overall reported negative effect of more intensive working schemes and that are of high academic and policy relevance. One such insight uncovered by our review is that student employment seems to have a more adverse effect on educational decisions (continuing studies and enrolment in tertiary education) than on educational performance (test and exam scores).



Are Men Intimidated by Highly Educated Women? Undercover on Tinder

with Sarah Vandenbulcke (UGent) and Stijn Baert (UGent).

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

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In this study, we examine the impact of an individual’s education level on her/his mating success on the mobile dating app Tinder. To do so, we conducted a field experiment on Tinder in which we collected data on 3,600 profile evaluations. In line with previous research on mating preferences from multiple fields, our results indicate a heterogeneous effect of education level by gender: while women strongly prefer a highly educated potential partner, this hypothesis is rejected for men. In contrast with recent influential studies from the field of economics, we do not find any evidence that men would have an aversion to a highly educated potential partner. Additionally, in contrast with most previous research – again from multiple fields – we do not find any evidence for preferences for educational assortative mating, i.e. preferring a partner with a similar education level.



Student Employment and Academic Performance: An Empirical Exploration of the Primary Orientation Theory

with Stijn Baert (UGent), Ive Marx (UAntwerpen), Eva Van Belle (UGent), and Jasmien Van Casteren (UGent).

Applied Economics Letters, 25(8), 547–552

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This study empirically assesses the thesis that student employment only hurts academic performance for students with a primary orientation towards work (versus school). To this end, we analyse unique data on tertiary education students’ intensity of and motivation for student employment by means of a state-of-the art moderation model. We find, indeed, only a negative association between hours of student work and the percentage of courses passed for work-oriented students. This finding may explain the contradictory results in the literature neglecting this factor.

MANUSCRIPTS UNDER (RE)SUBMISSION

Student Work, Educational Achievement, and Later Employment: A Dynamic Approach

with Stijn Baert (UGent), Eddy Omey (UGent), and Dieter Verhaest (KU Leuven).

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This study examines the direct and indirect impact (via educational achievement) of student work during secondary education on employment outcomes. To this end, we jointly model student work and later schooling and employment outcomes as discrete choices, while correcting for these outcomes’ unobserved determinants. Using unique longitudinal Belgian data, we find that pupils who work during the summer holidays are more likely to be employed after leaving school. This premium to student work is higher when pupils also work during the academic year. Decomposing this total effect shows that the direct return to student work overcompensates its non-positive indirect effect via educational achievement.



What Do Student Jobs on Graduate CVs Signal to Employers?

with Eva Van Belle (NCCR), Ralf Caers (KU Leuven), Laure Cuypers (UGent), Marijcke De Couck (VUB), Hannah Van Borm (UGent), and Stijn Baert (UGent).

Link to study (IZA discussion paper)    

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Due to the prevalence and important consequences of student work, the topic has seen an increased interest in the literature. However, to date the focus has been solely on measuring the effect of student employment on later labour market outcomes, relying on signalling theory to explain the observed effects. In the current study, we go beyond measuring the effect of student work and we examine for the first time what exactly is being signalled by student employment. We do this by means of a vignette experiment in which we ask 242 human resource professionals to evaluate a set of five fictitious profiles. Whereas all types of student work signal a better work attitude, a larger social network, a greater sense of responsibility, an increased motivation, and more maturity, only student employment in line with a job candidate’s field of study is a signal of increased human capital and increased trainability.



Student Internships and Employment Opportunities After Graduation: A Field Experiment

with Stijn Baert (UGent), Thomas Siedler (UHH), Ilse Tobback (KU Leuven), and Dieter Verhaest (KU Leuven).

Link to study (IZA discussion paper)    

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Internships during tertiary education have become substantially more common over the past decades in many industrialised countries. This study examines the impact of a voluntary intra-curricular internship experience during university studies on the probability of being invited to a job interview. To estimate a causal relationship, we conducted a randomised field experiment in which we sent 1,248 fictitious, but realistic, resumes to real job openings. We find that applicants with internship experience have, on average, a 12.6% higher probability of being invited to a job interview.



The Impact of Dual Apprenticeship Programs on Early Labour Market Outcomes: A Dynamic Approach

with Dieter Verhaest (KU Leuven) and Stijn Baert (UGent).

Link to study (IZA discussion paper)    

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This study examines the impact of enrolling into dual apprenticeship programs in secondary education on six early employment outcomes. Our contribution to the literature is threefold. First, we estimate – within the same, Belgian secondary education framework – the effects of two distinct types of dual programs that combine part-time school- or training centre-based instruction with an apprenticeship in a firm. Second, these effects are identified by estimating a dynamic model capturing subsequent educational and labour market outcomes to control for the dynamic selection of students into dual programs. Third, this approach enables us to distinguish between the programs’ direct effects (conditional on educational achievement) and indirect effects (via educational achievement). We find evidence for short-term labour market advantages but only for the program with the most days of in-field training. With these findings we contribute to the international discussion on the optimal design of vocational programs.



What Makes You Swipe Right? Attractiveness, Personality, and Tinder Success

with Elisabeth Timmermans (EUR), Sarah Vandenbulcke (UGent), and Stijn Baert (UGent).

Link to (Dutch) newspaper article    

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Online dating is becoming the number one channel through which people find their life partner. Nonetheless, research on the determinants of online dating success has remained limited, especially with regard to mobile dating apps, which have become extremely popular over the last years. Mimicking Tinder decisions in an online survey experiment, we find that attractiveness is the single most important determinant of mobile dating success on mobile dating apps, although some effect of (perceived) personality exists. In addition, we distinguish heterogeneous effects by participant characteristics. For example, female swipe decisions are, compared with male decisions, somewhat more driven by a preference for dating partners perceived as agreeable. In addition, participants who are more open to experience have a (weakly) higher preference for profiles who also appear to be more open.



Never Mind I'll Find Someone Like Me: Assortative Mating Preferences on Tinder

with Stijn Baert (UGent) and Sarah Vandenbulcke (UGent).

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Previous literature has identified assortative mating as the most frequent deviation from random mating both in offline dating and on classic online dating websites. However, several recent studies have suggested that assortative mating is fading due to the advent of mobile dating apps. Therefore, in this study we examine whether preferences for assortative mating are still present on the most popular mobile dating app of the moment: Tinder. For this means, we analyse experimental and survey data on 7,846 Tinder profile evaluations. We find that Tinder users prefer a potential partner who is similar in age, agreeableness, and openness to experience. However, we do not find any evidence for preferences for assortative mating based on attractiveness. We examine heterogeneous preferences by the gender and age of the experiment participants.

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