IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Return to college education revisited: Is relevance relevant?


  • Yakusheva, Olga


This study examines whether the size of the college earnings premium varies depending on the quality of the match between an individual's degree field and his/her occupation. The study uses the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to obtain a new measure of the quality of occupational match for a sample of 2268 young adults with post-secondary degrees from the restricted use High School and Beyond (1980/92) data. The study finds that people whose occupations better match their degree fields earn significantly higher returns to post-secondary schooling. This result is robust to controlling for an extensive set of pre-existing differences among individuals, and to accounting for differences in earnings across post-secondary degree fields.

Suggested Citation

  • Yakusheva, Olga, 2010. "Return to college education revisited: Is relevance relevant?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1125-1142, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:6:p:1125-1142

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "The Human Capital Earnings Function," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 83-96 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Manacorda, Marco & Petrongolo, Barbara, 1999. "Skill Mismatch and Unemployment in OECD Countries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 181-207, May.
    3. Omar Arias & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Individual heterogeneity in the returns to schooling: instrumental variables quantile regression using twins data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 7-40.
    4. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-177, February.
    5. Clifford Clogg & James Shockey, 1984. "Mismatch between occupation and schooling: A prevalence measure, recent trends and demographic analysis," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 21(2), pages 235-257, May.
    6. Jaeger, David A & Page, Marianne E, 1996. "Degrees Matter: New Evidence on Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 733-740, November.
    7. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-1120, December.
    8. Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. ""Overeducation" in the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 101-122, April.
    9. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    10. Russell W. Rumberger, 1987. "The Impact of Surplus Schooling on Productivity and Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(1), pages 24-50.
    11. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Doan, Tinh & Stevens, Philip, 2011. "Labour market returns to higher education in Vietnam," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 5, pages 1-21.
    2. Domadenik, Polona & Farčnik, Daša & Pastore, Francesco, 2013. "Horizontal Mismatch in the Labour Market of Graduates: The Role of Signalling," IZA Discussion Papers 7527, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Liu, Liqun & Neilson, William S., 2011. "High scores but low skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 507-516, June.
    4. Andersson, Roland & Nabavi Larijani, Pardis & Wilhelmsson, Mats, 2013. "The impact of vocational education and training on income in Sweden," Working Paper Series 13/4, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Centre for Banking and Finance (cefin).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:6:p:1125-1142. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.