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Overeducation, Regional Labour Markets and Spatial Flexibility

  • Büchel, Felix

    (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)

  • van Ham, Maarten


    (Delft University of Technology)

For most workers, access to suitable employment is severely restricted by the fact that they look for jobs in the regional labour market rather than the global one. In this paper we analyse how macro-level opportunities (regional labour market characteristics) and microlevel restrictions (the extent to which job searchers are restricted to the regional labour market) can help to explain the phenomenon of overeducation. For the purposes of this project we obtained special permission to link regional data supplied by the German Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning to data provided by the respondents in the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), based on their region of residence. The use of multilevel models made it possible to combine both individual and regional characteristics in the same models. In addition, we used the Heckman two-step procedure to control for selective access to employment. The results show that the size of the labour market is an important factor in avoiding overeducation: looking for a job on a large labour market increases the probability of finding a suitable job. Access to a car for personal use and a longer commuting time reduce the risk of working in a job for which one is overeducated.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 424.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: [Journal of Urban Economics] , 2003, 53 (3), 482-493
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp424
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  1. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  2. Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. ""Overeducation" in the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 101-22, April.
  3. Tsang, Mun C. & Levin, Henry M., 1985. "The economics of overeducation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 93-104, April.
  4. Blechinger, Doris & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 1996. "Technological change and skill obsolescence: the case of German apprenticeship training," ZEW Discussion Papers 96-15, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Valerie Preston & Sara McLafferty, 1999. "articles: Spatial mismatch research in the 1990s: progress and potential," Papers in Regional Science, Springer, vol. 78(4), pages 387-402.
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  7. Maarten van Ham & Pieter Hooimeijer & Clara H. Mulder, 2001. "Urban Form and Job Access: Disparate Realities in the Randstad," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 92(2), pages 231-246, 05.
  8. van Ommeren, Jos & Rietveld, Piet & Nijkamp, Peter, 1997. "Commuting: In Search of Jobs and Residences," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 402-421, November.
  9. Rouwendal, Jan, 1999. "Spatial job search and commuting distances," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 491-517, July.
  10. Groot, Wim & Maassen van den Brink, Henriette, 2000. "Overeducation in the labor market: a meta-analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 149-158, April.
  11. Van de Ven, Wynand P. M. M. & Van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1981. "The demand for deductibles in private health insurance : A probit model with sample selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 229-252, November.
  12. Maarten van Ham & Clara H Mulder & Pieter Hooimeijer, 2001. "Spatial flexibility in job mobility: macrolevel opportunities and microlevel restrictions," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(5), pages 921-940, May.
  13. Frank, Robert H, 1978. "Why Women Earn Less: The Theory and Estimation of Differential Overqualification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 360-73, June.
  14. McGoldrick, KimMarie & Robst, John, 1996. "Gender Differences in Overeducation: A Test of the Theory of Differential Overqualification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 280-84, May.
  15. Hey, John D & McKenna, Chris J, 1979. "To Move or Not to Move?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(182), pages 175-85, May.
  16. 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.
  17. H Jarvis, 1999. "Identifying the Relative Mobility Prospects of a Variety of Household Employment Structures, 1981–1991," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 31(6), pages 1031-1046, June.
  18. B Baccaïni, 1997. "Commuting and Residential Strategies in the Île-de-France: Individual Behaviour and Spatial Constraints," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 29(10), pages 1801-1829, October.
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