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Is forcing them worth the effort? Benefits of mandatory internships for graduates from diverse family backgrounds at labour market entry

Mandatory internships are implemented in higher education curricula in order to ease the labour market integration of graduates. This article evaluates the utility of mandatory internships in Germany by assessing the effect on graduates’ transition from higher education to work. The authors examine whether these compulsory programmes provide extra benefits for graduates from families with lower educational backgrounds. Three different outcome variables are used to characterize the labour market entry: search duration until the first significant job, employment history complexity and wages five years after graduation. The results clearly indicate that compulsory internship programmes neither have a positive effect on labour market outcomes in general, nor are they particularly beneficial for graduates from lower educational backgrounds.