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Educational Mismatch: Are High-Skilled Immigrants Really Working at High-Skilled Jobs and the Price They Pay If They Aren't?

  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    ()

    (George Washington University)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

This paper examines the incidence of the mismatch of the educational attainment and the occupation of employment, and the impact of this mismatch on the earnings, of high-skilled adult male immigrants in the US labor market. Analyses for high-skilled adult male native-born workers are also presented for comparison purposes. The results show that over-education is widespread in the high-skilled US labor market, both for immigrants and the native born. The extent of over-education declines with duration in the US as high-skilled immigrants obtain jobs commensurate with their educational level. Years of schooling that are above that which is usual for a worker's occupation are associated with very low increases in earnings. Indeed, in the first 10 to 20 years in the US years of over-education among high-skilled workers have a negative effect on earnings. This ineffective use of surplus education appears across all occupations and high-skilled education levels. Although schooling serves as a pathway to occupational attainment, earnings appear to be more closely linked to a worker's occupation than to the individual's level of schooling.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4280.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Barry R. Chiswick (ed.), High Skilled Immigration in a Global Labor Market, Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 2010, 111-154
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4280
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  1. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2006. "Why is the Payoff to Schooling Smaller for Immigrants?," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 06-03, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Cohn, Elchanan & Khan, Shahina P., 1995. "The wage effects of overschooling revisited," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 67-76, March.
  4. Stephen Rubb, 2003. "Post-College Schooling, Overeducation, and Hourly Earnings in the United States," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 53-72.
  5. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "The International Transferability of Immigrants’ Human Capital Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 2670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Russell W. Rumberger, 1987. "The Impact of Surplus Schooling on Productivity and Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(1), pages 24-50.
  7. Vahey, Shaun P., 2000. "The great Canadian training robbery: evidence on the returns to educational mismatch," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 219-227, April.
  8. Richard R. Verdugo & Naomi Turner Verdugo, 1989. "The Impact of Surplus Schooling on Earnings: Some Additional Findings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 629-643.
  9. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2010. "Does the choice of reference levels of education matter in the ORU earnings equation?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1076-1085, December.
  10. Hartog, Joop, 2000. "Over-education and earnings: where are we, where should we go?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 131-147, April.
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521117562 is not listed on IDEAS
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