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How Well Can We Measure Graduate Over- Education and Its Effects?


  • H. Battu

    (Department of Economics, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3QY)

  • C.R. Belfield

    (School of Education, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B I5 2TT)

  • P.J. Sloane

    (Department of Economics, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3QY)


Using data from two cohorts of graduates, this article examines three aspects of over-education. First, using three new measures, we present an estimate of graduate over-education in the UK. We find that the scale of over-education varies with measurement techniques, with weak correlations between the three measures. Second, across the three measures we estimate the effects of over-education on earnings and job satisfaction. The effects of over-education on earnings and job satisfaction are similar, not withstanding the measures identifying different individuals as being over-educated. One finding is that the effects of being over-educated are more significant for female graduates than male, although it is ambigu ous which gender is more prone to over-education. Third, we examine another source of ambiguity regarding over education, namely that firms upgrade the tasks they allocate to their employees who appear to be over-educated. We find that, for graduates, job quality for the over-educated is not converging to that of the appropriately educated.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Battu & C.R. Belfield & P.J. Sloane, 2000. "How Well Can We Measure Graduate Over- Education and Its Effects?," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 171(1), pages 82-93, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:171:y:2000:i:1:p:82-93

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