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75-001-XIE

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mast-head for "Perspectives on Labour and Income"
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July 2001     Vol. 2, no. 7

Generalize or specialize—which will provide the better career path? For the most part, the debate has been philosophical. Now, longitudinal data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics can provide empirical evidence to fuel the debate. "Liberal arts degrees and the labour market" looks at bachelor's level degree holders and compares the earnings and labour market experiences of humanities and social sciences graduates with those of graduates from more vocationally oriented programs. In general, humanities and social sciences graduates seemed to take longer making the school-to-work transition and their initial earnings were lower on average. Older graduates, however, surpassed their applied programs counterparts in earnings and had more secure employment.

This month's second article revisits the issue of who contributes to registered retirement savings plans. RRSPs are one of the most important financial assets of Canadians—about 40% of the total. Although men on average are more likely than women overall to contribute to an RRSP, they also typically have higher incomes. However, if the comparison is by income level, women are actually more likely to contribute to an RRSP at each level. The article also examines the effects of age and coverage by an employer-sponsored pension plan on RRSP participation.

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