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The Impact of Surplus Schooling on Productivity and Earnings

Russell W. Rumberger

Journal of Human Resources, 1987, vol. 22, issue 1, 24-50

Abstract: This article examines the impact of surplus schooling on individual productivity and earnings. It proposes a model that divides workers' education into two components: education that is required and thus fully utilized in the job, and education that exceeds the amount required and thus may be underutilized in the job. The model is tested with data from the 1969, 1973, and 1977 Quality of Working Life Surveys (Quinn and Staines 1979). Required schooling for each occupation is derived from estimates by job incumbents and by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The results show that surplus or underutilized education is rewarded at a lower rate than required education, with the actual return dependent on the type of job.

Date: 1987
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