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Overqualification: permanent or transitory?

Author

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  • Christa Frei
  • Alfonso Sousa-Poza

Abstract

This article analyses job mismatches in Switzerland based on a subjective measure of overqualification. According to job search and job matching theories, overqualification is a transitory problem. Other theories show that overqualification can also be of a permanent nature. We test the perpetuity of overeducation using panel data from the first eight waves of the Swiss Household Panel (SHP) covering the period 1999 to 2006. Our empirical analysis reveals little evidence for lasting rigidities that would cause permanent job mismatches. Rather, spells of overqualification are relatively short: about half of all individuals who were overqualified in a given year had an adequate job match 1 year later. While a short duration of overqualification would be consistent with job search and job matching theories, our observation that the probability of a job mismatch does not significantly decrease with experience is at odds with these theories. Our article provides an alternative explanation for this phenomenon: the constant accumulation of experience and qualifications throughout a worker's career implies that, for a good job match to be maintained, qualification-specific job requirements must increase as the worker ages. If this does not occur, even older workers face a risk of becoming overqualified.

Suggested Citation

  • Christa Frei & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2012. "Overqualification: permanent or transitory?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(14), pages 1837-1847, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:14:p:1837-1847
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2011.554380
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/00036846.2011.554380
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kiersztyn, Anna, 2013. "Stuck in a mismatch? The persistence of overeducation during twenty years of the post-communist transition in Poland," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 78-91.
    2. repec:esr:qecsas:2017:win:redmond is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Theo Sparreboom & Alexander Tarvid, 2016. "Imbalanced Job Polarization and Skills Mismatch in Europe," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(1), pages 15-42, July.
    4. Brynin, Malcolm & Longhi, Simonetta, 2009. "Overqualification: Major or minor mismatch?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 114-121, February.
    5. repec:esr:forcas:qec2017win is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:labeco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:120-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Cim, Merve & Kind, Michael Sebastian & Kleibrink, Jan, 2017. "Occupational mismatch of immigrants in Europe: The role of education and cognitive skills," Ruhr Economic Papers 687, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    8. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:1370-1387 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Jhon James Mora, 2008. "Sobre-educación en el mercado laboral colombiano," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 10(19), pages 293-309, July-Dece.
    10. Sara Flisi & Valentina Goglio & Elena Claudia Meroni & Margarida Rodrigues & Esperanza Vera-Toscano, 2017. "Measuring Occupational Mismatch: Overeducation and Overskill in Europe—Evidence from PIAAC," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 1211-1249, April.
    11. Jan Kleibrink, 2016. "Inept or Badly Matched? — Effects of Educational Mismatch in the Labor Market," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 30(1), pages 88-108, March.

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