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Jobs for Young University Graduates: Is It Worth Having a Degree?

  • Cardoso, Ana Rute

    ()

    (IAE Barcelona (CSIC))

This study addresses the question: Are workers who hold a university degree increasingly filling job openings meant for people with lower levels of schooling? It focuses on Portugal, where the higher education system has been expanding at a fast pace and the share of university graduates in total labour force has been increasing, but where the unemployment rate for such workers has also been increasing. The analysis relies on a remarkable dataset covering the entire workforce in manufacturing and services private sectors, to implement the conceptual framework developed by Gottschalk and Hansen (2003). Results indicate that the university wage premium increased and the proportion of university graduates working in non-university jobs declined sharply over time. Therefore, no support is found for the skepticism over investment in higher education. Results are consistent with the idea that skillbiased technological progress taking place in some sectors raises the productivity of workers with higher schooling levels, thus raising their wages, which attracts new workers with high qualifications.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1311.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economics Letters, 2007, 94 (2), 271-277
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1311
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Kiker, B. F. & Santos, Maria C., 1991. "Human capital and earnings in Portugal," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 187-203, September.
  2. Ana Rute Cardoso, 1999. "Firms' Wage Policies and the Rise in Labor Market Inequality: The Case of Portugal," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(1), pages 87-102, October.
  3. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  4. Machin, Stephen, 1996. "Wage Inequality in the UK," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 47-64, Spring.
  5. repec:sae:niesru:v:166:y::i:1:p:87-96 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  7. Peter T. Gottschalk & Michael Hansen, 2001. "Is the Proportion of College Workers in “Non-College” Jobs Increasing?," JCPR Working Papers 223, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  8. Mendes de Oliveira, M. & Santos, M. C. & Kiker, B. F., 2000. "The role of human capital and technological change in overeducation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 199-206, April.
  9. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  10. Hartog, Joop & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1988. "Education, allocation and earnings in the Netherlands: 0verschooling?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 185-194, April.
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