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Much ado about social outcomes?


  • Fregin, Marie-Christine
  • Bijlsma, Ineke

    (ROA / Dynamics of the labour market)

  • van der Velden, Rolf

    (General Economics 2 (Macro))


Skills and skill mismatches are claimed to have major consequences for societies and individuals, although convincing evidence mainly exists for wages. Our article examines the association between skill mismatch and job satisfaction as well as other social outcomes, such as political efficacy and social trust. Drawing on data from the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), we contribute to sociological research by applying the ‘effective skill’ concept, a new conceptual approach to measure skill mismatch. We relate this new concept to job satisfaction and other social outcomes, comparing our results with alternative skill mismatch indicators. Our findings provide empirical evidence for two important messages: First, we provide evidence that once we use objective indicators for the skill match – and we make use of all measures that we currently have – there is no association between skill mismatch and job satisfaction. In fact, job satisfaction is driven by skill use, not by skill mismatches or skill proficiency. Second, we show that effective skill and skill mismatch are associated with other social outcomes, having quite considerable effects especially on political efficacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Fregin, Marie-Christine & Bijlsma, Ineke & van der Velden, Rolf, 2018. "Much ado about social outcomes?," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umagsb:2018017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
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    3. Allen, Jim & van der Velden, Rolf, 2001. "Educational Mismatches versus Skill Mismatches: Effects on Wages, Job Satisfaction, and On-the-Job Search," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 434-452, July.
    4. Green, Francis, 2013. "Skills and Skilled Work: An Economic and Social Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199642854.
    5. Verhaest Dieter & Velden Rolf van der, 2010. "Cross-country differences in graduate overeducation and its persistence," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    6. van der Velden, Rolf & Bijlsma, Ineke, 2017. "Skill effort: A new theoretical perspective on the relation between skills, skill use, mismatches, and wages," ROA Research Memorandum 005, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    7. Rolf van der Velden & Dieter Verhaest, 2017. "Are Skill Deficits always Bad? Toward a Learning Perspective on Skill Mismatches," Research in Labor Economics, in: Solomon W. Polachek & Konstantinos Pouliakas & Giovanni Russo & Konstantinos Tatsiramos (ed.), Skill Mismatch in Labor Markets, volume 45, pages 305-343, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
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    10. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2015. "The Knowledge Capital of Nations: Education and the Economics of Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262029170, February.
    11. 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.
    12. Francis Green & Golo Henseke, 2016. "Should governments of OECD countries worry about graduate underemployment?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(4), pages 514-537.
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