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Overqualification, job dissatisfaction, and increasing dispersion in the returns to graduate education

  • Francis Green
  • Yu Zhu

We report increasing dispersion in the returns to graduate education in Britain, and relate this development to rising overqualification. We distinguish 'Real' and 'Formal' overqualification, according to whether it is accompanied by underutilization of skill. Employees in the former group experience greater, and more sharply rising, pay penalties than those in the latter group. Real Overqualification, but not Formal Overqualification, is associated with job dissatisfaction. While Formal Overqualification has been increasing over time, Real Overqualification has been steady or rising only slowly. The normative implication drawn is that the state should provide regular information on the distribution of the returns to graduate education. Copyright 2010 Oxford University Press 2010 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oep/gpq002
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 62 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 740-763

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:62:y:2010:i:4:p:740-763
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  1. Chevalier, Arnaud & Lindley, Joanne, 2006. "Over-Education and the Skills of UK Graduates," IZA Discussion Papers 2442, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Ming-Ching Luoh, 2003. "Gender Differences in Completed Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 559-577, August.
  3. Andy Dickerson & Francis Green, 2004. "The growth and valuation of computing and other generic skills," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 371-406, July.
  4. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Dolton, Peter & Vignoles, Anna, 2000. "The incidence and effects of overeducation in the U.K. graduate labour market," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 179-198, April.
  7. Arnaud Chevalier, 2003. "Measuring Over-education," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(279), pages 509-531, 08.
  8. Frenette, Marc, 2004. "The overqualified Canadian graduate: the role of the academic program in the incidence, persistence, and economic returns to overqualification," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 29-45, February.
  9. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and lovely jobs: the rising polarization of work in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20002, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Francis Green & Steven McIntosh, 2007. "Is there a genuine under-utilization of skills amongst the over-qualified?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 427-439.
  11. Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2005. "The College Wage Premium, Overeducation, and the Expansion of Higher Education in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 1627, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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