The school-to-work (S2W) transition system is a key component in creating and maintaining a productive labour force in any economy. Prior research evaluating these systems has focused on the superior outcomes of the German and Japanese systems; especially the German S2W system. Several researchers have suggested that transplanting the German system, to the US especially, will result in an improved transition for students into productive workers. This paper provides a comparison of four S2W transition systems (USA, UK, Japan, and Germany). It is based on five datasets with time spans going from 1990 to 2009. We question the conclusions drawn in previous studies about the superiority of the German system and suggest that FDI inflows and the ratio of youth to mature adult unemployment need to be included in any future S2W transition system comparisons.
Keywords: school-to-work systems, apprenticeship programs, dual/hybrid systems, education-work transition, USA and UK comparison to Germany, FDI inflows, S2W employment comparisons, transition costs