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The Effects of Over-Education on Earnings in the Graduate Labour Market

Mary Silles and Peter Dolton

No 126, Economics Series Working Papers from University of Oxford, Department of Economics

Abstract: The massive transition to higher education and the large number of university graduates taking school-leavers` jobs has led many to question the widely held view that a university education is a good investment and a guarantee of economic success. This paper using data from one large civic university in the UK to consider the determinants and consequences of over-education. Approximately one in five graduates genuinely have more education than their jobs require. This study tests and rejects the hypothesis of non-random selection into over-education among graduates who have been in the labour market for some time. In addition, the evidence strongly suggests that ordinary least squares systematically underestimate the magnitude of the negative effects of over-education of earnings.

Keywords: educational economics; wage differentials (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2002-11-01
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