IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Occupational choice of young graduates: Do job tasks matter?


  • ROCHER, Stijn


This paper examines the extent to which graduates of higher education direct their own occupational choices. I begin by developing an empirical indicator to identify the relation between occupations based on their task content. To this end, I combine individual education and employment data of UK graduates with ratings on 42 task content areas from the UK Skill Survey. Based on these data, I show that UK graduates who majored in similar fields choose occupations with similar task packages. This is followed by a discussion of the wage implications of entering an atypical occupation relative to the modal graduate from the same field. As such, the indicator can be interpreted within a mismatch context. I find that task mismatch increases the probability of over-qualification, which is subsequently associated with lower wages.

Suggested Citation

  • ROCHER, Stijn, 2010. "Occupational choice of young graduates: Do job tasks matter?," Working Papers 2010027, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ant:wpaper:2010027

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher Adam & Stephen O'Connell & Edward Buffie & Catherine Pattillo, 2009. "Monetary Policy Rules for Managing Aid Surges in Africa," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(s1), pages 464-490, August.
    2. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Cathy Patillo & Måns S–derbom & Francis Teal & Albert Zeufack, 2003. "Credit Constraints in Manufacturing Enterprises in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(1), pages 104-125, March.
    3. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2003. "Closing small open economy models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 163-185, October.
    4. Ale Bulir & A. Javier Hamann, 2003. "Aid Volatility: An Empirical Assessment," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(1), pages 1-4.
    5. Santacreu, Ana Maria, 2005. "Reaction functions in a small open economy: What role for non-traded inflation?," Working Papers 2014-44, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    6. Christopher Adam & Stephen O'Connell & Edward Buffie, 2008. "Aid volatility, monetary policy rules and the capital account in African economies," WEF Working Papers 0037, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
    7. Jihad Dagher & Jan Gottschalk & Rafael A Portillo, 2010. "Oil Windfalls in Ghana; A DSGE Approach," IMF Working Papers 10/116, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Matheson, Troy, 2010. "Assessing the fit of small open economy DSGEs," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 906-920, September.
    9. Cashin, Paul & McDermott, C. John & Pattillo, Catherine, 2004. "Terms of trade shocks in Africa: are they short-lived or long-lived?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 727-744, April.
    10. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
    11. Bulír, Ales & Hamann, A. Javier, 2008. "Volatility of Development Aid: From the Frying Pan into the Fire?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 2048-2066, October.
    12. Stiglitz, Joseph & Ocampo, Jose Antonio & Spiegel, Shari & Ffrench-Davis, Ricardo & Nayyar, Deepak, 2006. "Stability with Growth: Macroeconomics, Liberalization and Development," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199288144, June.
    13. Eicher, Theo S. & Schubert, Stefan F. & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2008. "Dynamic effects of terms of trade shocks: The impact on debt and growth," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 876-896, October.
    14. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 1999. "An Optimizing IS-LM Specification for Monetary Policy and Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 296-316, August.
    15. Polterovich, Victor & Popov, Vladimir, 2003. "Accumulation of Foreign Exchange Reserves and Long Term Growth," MPRA Paper 20069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Lensink, Robert, 1995. "Foreign exchange constraints and developing countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 179-191, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Occupational choice; Task content; Mismatch;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:ant:wpaper:2010027. 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: (Joeri Nys). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.