Tuomas Pekkarinen appointed research professor at VATT

Tuomas Pekkarinen, PhD, specialises in labour markets, education policy and social mobility.

Tuomas Pekkarinen has started in a new role at VATT Institute for Economic Research in a research group for labour markets and education. Pekkarinen has worked at VATT since 2014.

Pekkarinen's research interests focus particularly on labour markets, the determination of pay, and the impact of education policy reforms on social mobility and learning outcomes.

There have been significant changes in the Finnish educational system, one of which is the gradual increase in freedom of choice at an earlier stage. A critical question is at what stage, in terms of overall wellbeing, should people be allowed to make their own educational choices.

“Decisions on education policy have significant effects on the transfer of income levels from one generation to the next and on how competence is distributed. This is why it is important to study education policy, also in the future,” Pekkarinen says.

Tuomas Pekkarinen gained his PhD in economics at the European University Institute in Florence in 2003. Previously, he has worked as an academic researcher at the Aalto University School of Business, a researcher at the IFAU research institute in Uppsala and a post-doc researcher at Nuffield College, Oxford University. Pekkarinen is adjunct professor at Aalto University and a member of the Swedish Labour Policy Council.

In the 2016/2017 academic year, he was on a research visit at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, from where he recently returned to Finland.

Researchers in Finland have traditionally been regarded as fully trained upon finishing their PhD, but Pekkarinen says that the guidance of more experienced colleagues has been crucial for his career. He would like to develop this type of guidance also at VATT.

“I think it is important that research institutions should have a similar mentoring process to what universities have. Being more experienced, research professors should also bear more responsibility for the development of their research field,” Pekkarinen says.  

“VATT is a suitably sized research institution for guiding younger researchers. Here, the age structure is ideal, and many researchers also have diverse background,” he adds.

Research activities at VATT will be strengthened by new research professors during autumn 2017. Research professors conduct scientific research, acquire funding, and lead research teams and projects.

Additional information: Tuomas Pekkarinen, +358 295 519 465