1. A randomised field experiment found that applicants with internship experience have a 12.6% higher probability of being invited to a job interview.
2. The study focused on voluntary intra-curricular internships offered as elective courses at universities in Belgium.
3. The study explored the mechanisms explaining the relationship between internships and labour market success, including signalling effects and human capital theory.
The article "Student internships and employment opportunities after graduation: A field experiment" presents a study that examines the impact of intra-curricular internships during university studies on the probability of being invited to a job interview. The authors conducted a randomised field experiment in which they sent fictitious resumes with and without internship experience to real job openings. They found that applicants with internship experience had, on average, a 12.6% higher probability of being invited to a job interview.
The article provides valuable insights into the relationship between internships and labour market outcomes. However, there are some potential biases and limitations in the study that need to be considered.
Firstly, the study only focuses on Belgian graduates, which limits its generalisability to other countries or regions. Secondly, the study only considers voluntary intra-curricular internships offered as elective courses at universities, which may not reflect all types of internships available to students. Thirdly, the study does not account for differences in the quality or duration of internships, which may affect their impact on labour market outcomes.
Moreover, while the authors acknowledge potential selection bias in previous studies on this topic, they do not fully address it in their own study. The authors argue that their randomised field experiment allows them to estimate a causal relationship between internships and hiring chances. However, it is still possible that students who choose to participate in an internship differ from those who do not in ways that are not controlled for but also affect labour market success.
Additionally, while the authors explore two theoretical mechanisms explaining the relationship between internships and labour market success (signalling effects and human capital theory), they do not consider other potential explanations or counterarguments. For example, it is possible that employers prefer candidates with internship experience simply because they have demonstrated initiative or networking skills rather than specific knowledge or skills gained through an internship.
Overall, while this article provides useful insights into the impact of intra-curricular internships on hiring chances for Belgian graduates, readers should be aware of its limitations and potential biases. Further research is needed to fully understand the complex relationship between internships and labour market outcomes across different contexts and types of internships.