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Overeducation and Skill Endowments The Role of School Achievement and Vocational Training Quality


  • Büchel, Felix

    (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)

  • Pollmann-Schult, Matthias

    (affiliation not available)


Thurow’s job-competition model implies that overeducation is contingent upon the differing skill endowments of employees. As yet, only rudimentary evidence has been furnished to confirm this relationship. In the present paper, we test the theory in a more sophisticated manner, by means of a more differentiated survey of the skill endowments of workers. Our analyses are based on the German Life History Study (GLHS), in which longitudinal biographical data was gathered for the West German cohorts born in 1964 and 1971 up until the year of the survey (1998). These data are analyzed using a trivariate probit model which takes into account the selective acquisition of school qualifications, and the selective choice of vocational training with varying levels of quality. Our findings confirm that type and grade of school leaving certificate both have a strong effect on the later risk of overeducation. The quality of the vocational training chosen only impacts on the overeducation risk when the strong selectivity effects in certain types of schools and types of vocational training are not taken into account. In line with existing literature, we find that the risk of overeducation decreases with increasing traditional skill measures such as experience, tenure, on-the-job-training, and further education. In sum, our results clearly confirm the capacity of the job-competition model to explain the persistence of overeducation in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Büchel, Felix & Pollmann-Schult, Matthias, 2001. "Overeducation and Skill Endowments The Role of School Achievement and Vocational Training Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 337, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp337

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Hans van Ophem, 2004. "Explaining international differences in male skill wage differentials by differences in demand and supply of skill," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 466-486, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Galasi, Péter, 2004. "Túlképzés, alulképzés és bérhozam a magyar munkaerőpiacon, 1994-2002
      [Over-education, under-education and wage premiums on the Hungarian labour market, 1994-2002]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(5), pages 449-471.
    2. D. Verhaest & E. Omey, 2004. "What determines measured overeducation?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 04/216, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Boll, Christina & Leppin, Julian & Rossen, Anja & Wolf, André, 2016. "Overeducation - New evidence for 25 European countries," IAB Discussion Paper 201635, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. L. Cattani & G. Guidetti & G. Pedrini, 2014. "Assessing the incidence and wage effects of overeducation among Italian graduates using a new measure for educational requirements," Working Papers wp939, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

    More about this item


    selectivity effects; intergenerational mobility; Overeducation; skills; human capital; school achievement; vocational training; career mobility;

    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
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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