Expensive drop-outs

Every 20-year-old that stops working costs Norwegian society more than NOK 7 million (1 million euro). That’s in addition to higher taxes needed to fund social welfare programmes, the increased likelihood that drop-outs will have a substance abuse problem or commit crimes, the contagion effect on their friends and their overall lower quality of life.

Economist Torberg Falch at NTNU has tallied up these costs, and says that there is a clear correlation between dropping out of the labour market and dropping out of high school. Today, roughly ten per cent of the one million Norwegians in the 15-30 year old age bracket are neither employed nor in school.