Abdullah Adil

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Assoc. PhD Student

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Research Project

Impact of Higher Education on Employability and Earnings in the Labor Market of Afghanistan

Education and training are the essential features of the human capital from personal and social perspectives. According to the theory of human capital, education is the most cost-effective investment in human, it produces knowledge and enhancing the productivity of the people, which in turn leads to higher earnings throughout the long period of time. It is widely known that human capital is a result of the education, and spending on education is considered not as a cost but as a real and rational investment for capturing its future returns. Knowing the importance of the education as a tool for human capital formation, today the expenditure on education is an important item in the national budget of the countries, and it is a significant part of the household and individual expenditure. Human capital formation through acquiring education and training becomes a personal and public responsibility to be regarded as a future economic objective.

Since the 1960s, much of the academic work has been done to understand various aspects of the human capital obtained through education and trainings. A substantial body of literature focused on an education-wage relationship using the well-known human capital earnings function, and it becomes one of the most investigated topics in economics and social science. However, relatively less investigated components are the impact of education on employability, impact of the level and the field of education on employability and earnings, etc. These aspects are less known for countries such as Afghanistan, which is characterized by high poverty rate, low-income society, politically less-stable country, partially informal economy, inefficient education system, incapable labor market etc.

This study aims to contribute to the current body of the knowledge about the labor-market outcomes of the higher education by investigating the impact of formal higher education on employability and earnings in the labor market of Afghanistan; it seeks to explore which types of employment opportunities are available for university level educated (skilled) job seekers in the labor market. Additionally, the study will further investigate to find the most influential determinants of employment and earnings in the labor market such as field of study, extra expenditure on education, personal ability proxied by average scores, extra skills, experiences, gender, ethnicity, family background, etc.

The empirical analysis of the study is based on primary data collected through the University Graduate Survey in Afghanistan, different econometric specifications (such as logistic, OLS, and IV regression) will be utilized in the quantitative analysis.

In practice, the results of the study can help policymakers of higher education and its international partners to better understand the relationship of the job market and provision of higher education. Similarly, the results of the study can be helpful to other stakeholders such as private and public universities for designing their study programs, even potential students and their families to better decide on level and field of study, and development agencies and academia for their policy analysis and research priorities.

Supervisor: Prof. Wilhelm Löwenstein

Research Interest

  • Human capital and Labor Economics
  • Economic evaluation and impact analysis
  • Theory of firm and market/ Micro-analysis
  • International macroeconomics with special focus on trade theories and policies
  • Developing and emerging economies
  • The changing role of businesses in society


2004 - 2008:   Bachelor in Economics, Nangarhar University, Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
2010 - 2011:   Advanced Bachelor upgrade in Economics & Management, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.
2011 - 2013:   MSc in Economics & Management, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

Publications & Translations

  • Adil Abdullah et al, (2014). National Position Paper on Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges Afghanistan, European Union-CASCAD
  • Adil Abdullah & Vreen A. (2014). Economic and Business Terms (English-Pashto explanatory dictionary). Sahar printing press -funded by German-Afghan University Society (DAUG). Kabul-Afghanistan.
  • Adil Abdullah (2013). Import Substitution in Afghanistan, Potentials and Risks. A master thesis, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.
  • Adil Abdullah (2013). Business informatics. English-Pashto translation, Textbook and supporting reader for university curriculum. funded by IEE-RUB Germany, Kabul-Afghanistan.
  • Adil Abdullah (2012). Public Economics. English-Pashto translation, Textbook and supporting reader for university curriculum. funded by IEE-RUB Germany, Kabul-Afghanistan.

Work Experience

  • Member of the board, and advisor in Afghan Economic Society (AES). From 2017.
  • Lecturer and teaching assistant: Nangarhar University, Jalalabad, Afghanistan. 2008-now.
  • Lecturer at University: Aryana University, Jalalabad, Afghanistan. 2009.
  • Head of Research Board of the Faculty of Economics, Nangarhar University, 2013-2014.
  • Member of Curriculum Development Committee, Nangarhar University, 2013-2014.