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Educational Mismatches and Earnings: Extensions of Occupational Mobility Theory and Evidence of Human Capital Depreciation

  • Stephen Rubb

Using a human capital theory framework, this study examines the impact of educational mismatches on earnings and occupational mobility. Occupational mobility theory suggests that overeducated workers observe greater upward occupational mobility and undereducated workers observe lower upward occupational mobility. By extension, this leads to relatively high earnings growth for overeducated workers and relatively low earnings growth for undereducated workers. Moreover, overeducated workers are probably transient relative to their undereducated counterparts, so employers have few incentives to invest in their human capital. Accordingly, their experience will be rewarded at lower rates. These results may also occur if the unused human capital of overeducated workers depreciates with nonuse. The data verify these predictions. Insights on the link between experience and educational mismatches are also examined.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Education Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 135-154

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Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:14:y:2006:i:2:p:135-154
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  1. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Michael Quinn & Stephen Rubb, 2005. "The importance of education-occupation matching in migration decisions," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 153-167, February.
  8. Robst, John, 1995. "College quality and overeducation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 221-228, September.
  9. Oded Galor & Nachum Sicherman, 1988. "A Theory of Career Mobility," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 51, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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  11. van Smoorenburg, M. S. M. & van der Velden, R. K. W., 2000. "The training of school-leavers: Complementarity or substitution?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 207-217, April.
  12. James W. Albrecht & Per-Anders Edin & Marianne Sundström & Susan B. Vroman, 1999. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earnings: A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 294-311.
  13. Duncan, Greg J. & Hoffman, Saul D., 1981. "The incidence and wage effects of overeducation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 75-86, February.
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