Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The Impact of Overeducation and its Measurement

  • 807 Accesses

  • 83 Citations


The central focus of this article is the influence of the applied measure when the impact of overeducation is analyzed. For a database of Flemish school leavers, four alternative measures of overeducation are related to job satisfaction, mobility, training participation and wages. The magnitude and significance of the effects diverge between these measures. When attained education is controlled for, overeducated workers are less satisfied, more mobile, participate less in training and earn less than adequately educated workers. When required education is controlled for, no robust results are found for job satisfaction and training participation. Overeducated workers earn more than adequately educated colleagues, but have a higher turnover rate. We have little clear results with respect to undereducation. Caution is thus recommended for the interpretation of empirical results with respect to the impact of over- and undereducation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. A. Alba-Ramírez (1993) ArticleTitle‘Mismatch in the Spanish labor market’ Journal of Human Resources 27 IssueID2 259–278 Occurrence Handle10.2307/146203

  2. J. Allen R. Velden Particlevan der (2001) ArticleTitle‘Educational mismatches versus skill mismatches: effects on wages, job satisfaction, and on-the-job search’ Oxford Economic Papers 53 IssueID3 434–452 Occurrence Handle10.1093/oep/53.3.434

  3. H. Battu C. Belfield P. Sloane (2000) ArticleTitle‘How well can we measure graduate overeducation and its effects?’ National Institute Economic Review 171 IssueIDJanuary 82–93

  4. Beneito, P., J. Ferri, M.L. Moltó and E. Uriel: 2002, ‘Over/undereducation and specific training in Spain’, in H. Heijke and J. Muyskens (ed.), Education and Training in a Knowledge-Based Economy, pp. 191–214.

  5. Borghans, L. and A. de Grip: 2000, ‘The debate in economics about skill utilization’, in L. Borghans and A. de Grip (eds.), The Overeducated Worker? (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham), pp. 3–23.

  6. F. Büchel (2002) ArticleTitle‘The effects of overeducation on productivity in Germany – the firms’ viewpoint’ Economics of Education Review 21 IssueID3 263–275 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0272-7757(01)00020-6

  7. F. Büchel A. Mertens (2004) ArticleTitle‘Overeducation, undereducation, and the theory of career mobility’ Applied Economics 36 803–816 Occurrence Handle10.1080/0003684042000229532

  8. K. Burdett (1978) ArticleTitle‘A th and quit rates’ American Economic Review 68 212–220

  9. CBS: 2001, Standaard beroepenclassificatie 1992 - editie 2001.

  10. A. Clark (1997) ArticleTitle‘Job satisfaction and gender: Why are women so happy at work?’ Labour Economics 4 IssueID4 341–372 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0927-5371(97)00010-9

  11. A. Clark A. Oswald (1996) ArticleTitle‘Satisfaction and comparison income’ Journal of Public Economics 61 359–381 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0047-2727(95)01564-7

  12. E. Cohn S. Khan (1995) ArticleTitle‘The wage effects of overschooling revisited’ Labour Economics 2 IssueID1 67–76 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0927-5371(95)80008-L

  13. A. Grip ParticleDe H. Heijke E. Willems (1998) ArticleTitle‘Training and mobility’ The Netherlands’ Journal of Social Sciences 34 IssueID1 78–98

  14. G. Duncan S. Hoffman (1981) ArticleTitle‘The incidence and wage effects of overeducation’ Economics of Education Review 1 IssueID1 75–86 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0272-7757(81)90028-5

  15. P. Gautier G. Berg Particlevan den J. Ours Particlevan G. Ridder (2002) ArticleTitle‘Worker turnover at the firm level and crowding out of lower educated workers’ European Economic Review 46 523–538 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0014-2921(01)00140-4

  16. Green F., McIntosh S. and Vignoles A. (1999). ‘Overeducation and skills – clarifying the concepts’, CEP Discussion Paper, 435.

  17. S. Groeneveld (1997) ArticleTitle‘Passend meten, over definities en metingen van overscholing’ Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken 13 IssueID3 273–282

  18. W. Groot (1993) ArticleTitle‘Overeducation and the returns to enterprise-related schooling’ Economics of Education Review 12 IssueID4 299–309 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0272-7757(93)90064-N

  19. W. Groot H. Maassen van den Brink (2000a) ArticleTitle‘Overeducation in the labor market: a meta-analysis’ Economics of Education Review 19 IssueID2 149–158 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0272-7757(99)00057-6

  20. W. Groot H. Maassenvanden Brink (2000b) ArticleTitle‘Skill mismatches in the Dutch labor market’ International Journal of Manpower 21 IssueID8 584–595 Occurrence Handle10.1108/01437720010379493

  21. Groot, W. and H. Maassen van den Brink: 2000c, ‘Job satisfaction, wages and allocation of men and women’, in E. Diener and D. Rahtz (eds.), Advances in Quality of Life Theory and Research (Kluwer, Dordrecht, Netherlands), pp. 111–128.

  22. C. Halaby (1994) ArticleTitle‘Overeducation and skill mismatch’ Sociology of Education 67 IssueID1 47–59 Occurrence Handle10.2307/2112749

  23. J. Hartog (2000) ArticleTitle‘Overeducation and earnings: where are we, where should we go?’ Economics of Education Review 19 IssueID2 131–147 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0272-7757(99)00050-3

  24. J. Hartog H. Oosterbeek (1988) ArticleTitle‘Education, allocation and earnings in the Netherlands: Overschooling?’ Economics of Education Review 7 IssueID2 185–194 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0272-7757(88)90043-X

  25. J. Hersch (1991) ArticleTitle‘Education match and job match’ Review of Economics and Statistics 73 IssueID1 140–144 Occurrence Handle10.2307/2109696

  26. B. Jovanovic (1979) ArticleTitle‘Job matching and the theory of turnover’ Journal of Political Economy 87 IssueID5 972–990 Occurrence Handle10.1086/260808

  27. Kiker B., Santos M. and M. Mendes de Oliveira (1997) ‘Overeducation and undereducation: Evidence for Portugal’. Economics of Education Review 16(2):111–125.

  28. J. Nagler (1994) ArticleTitle‘Scobit: An alternative estimator to logit and probit’ American Journal of Political Science 38 IssueID1 230–255

  29. H. Oosterbeek (2000) ArticleTitle‘Introduction to special issue on overschooling’ Economics of Education Review 19 IssueID2 129–130 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0272-7757(99)00040-0

  30. D. Pregibon (1980) ArticleTitle‘Goodness of link tests for generalized linear models’ Applied Statistics 29 IssueID1 15–24

  31. J. Robst (1995) ArticleTitle‘Career mobility, job match and overeducation’ Eastern Economic Journal 21 IssueID4 539–550

  32. S. Rosen (1976) ArticleTitle‘A theory of life earnings’ Journal of Political Economy 84 IssueID4/4 S45–S67 Occurrence Handle10.1086/260532

  33. S. Rubb (2003) ArticleTitle‘Overeducation in the labor market: A comment and re-analysis of a meta-analysis’ Economics of Education Review 22 IssueID6 621–629 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0272-7757(02)00077-8

  34. R. Rumberger (1987) ArticleTitle‘The impact of surplus schooling on productivity and earnings’ Journal of Human Resources 22 IssueID1 24–50 Occurrence Handle10.2307/145865

  35. M. Sattinger (1993) ArticleTitle‘Assignment models of the distribution of earnings’ Journal of Economic Literature 31 831–880

  36. N. Sicherman (1991) ArticleTitle‘Overeducation in the labor market’ Journal of Labor Economics 9 IssueID2 101–122 Occurrence Handle10.1086/298261

  37. N. Sicherman O. Galor (1990) ArticleTitle‘A theory of career mobility’ Journal of Political Economy 98 IssueID1 169–192 Occurrence Handle10.1086/261674

  38. J. Silva (2001) ArticleTitle‘A score test for non-nested hypotheses with applications to discrete data models’ Journal of Applied Econometrics 16 577–597 Occurrence Handle10.1002/jae.601

  39. SONAR: 2002, Hoe maken Vlaamse jongeren de overgang van school naar werk?, basisrapportering cohorte 1976 (eerste golf), 210pp.

  40. SONAR: 2004, Hoe maken Vlaamse jongeren de overgang van school naar werk?, basisrapportering cohorte 1976 (tweede golf), 116pp.

  41. STATA: 2003, STATA Reference Guide, release 8, volume 4.

  42. M. Stewart (1983) ArticleTitle‘On least squares estimation when the dependent variable is grouped’ Review of Economic Studies 50 IssueID163 737–753

  43. L. Thurow (1975) Generating Inequality Basic Books New York

  44. M. Tsang (1987) ArticleTitle‘The impact of underutilization of education on productivity: A case study of the U.S. bell companies’ Economics of Education Review 6 IssueID3 239–254 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0272-7757(87)90003-3

  45. M. Tsang H. Levin (1985) ArticleTitle‘The economics of overeducation’ Economics of Education Review 4 IssueID2 93–104 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0272-7757(85)90051-2

  46. M. Tsang R. Rumberger H. Levin (1991) ArticleTitle‘The impact of surplus schooling on worker productivity’ Industrial Relations 30 IssueID2 209–228

  47. R. Velden ParticleVander M. Smoorenburg Particlevan (1999) ArticleTitle‘Overscholing en beloning: Het effect van verschillende meetmethoden’ Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken 15 IssueID2 111–123

  48. M. Smoorenburg ParticleVan R. Velden Particlevan der (2000) ArticleTitle‘The training of school-leavers: Complementarity or substitution?’ Economics of Education Review 19 IssueID2 207–217 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0272-7757(99)00044-8

  49. R. Verdugo N. Verdugo (1989) ArticleTitle‘The impact of surplus schooling on earnings’ Journal of Human Resources 22 IssueID4 690–695

  50. D. Verhaest E. Omey (2002) ArticleTitle‘Opleiding en mobiliteit: evidentie voor intrede-jobs in Vlaanderen’ Economisch en Sociaal Tijdschrift 56 IssueID4 473–502

  51. Verhofstadt, E. and E. Omey: 2003, ‘The impact of education on job satisfaction in the first job’, FEB Working Paper, 2003/169, Ghent University, 16pp.

  52. Vroom, V.: 1964, ‘Work and Motivation’, New York.

  53. H. White (1980) ArticleTitle‘A heteroskedasticity-consistent covariance matrix estimator and a direct test for heteroskedasticity’ Econometrica 48 817–838

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Dieter Verhaest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Verhaest, D., Omey, E. The Impact of Overeducation and its Measurement. Soc Indic Res 77, 419–448 (2006).

Download citation


  • job satisfaction
  • measurement
  • mobility
  • overeducation
  • training
  • wages