Marco Terraneo

Education and work: the condition of graduates

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In the first part of the paper I discuss two conflicting theories about the connection between education and work, human capital and credential inflation. Afterward, within the framework of credentialism, I introduce the job-competition model theory to explain the functioning of the Italian labour market and its relationship with over-education. In the second part of the essay, I present the empirical analysis. The focus is on three aspects. First, using an over-educated measure based on worker-assessment of the required level to get the job (WAg), I estimate the incidence of over-education among Italian graduates. According to my analysis, about a fourth of Italian graduates 3 years after graduation have a job mismatch. Second, I analyse the educational determinants of over-education among graduates. I demonstrate that both cycle of study length and fields of education influence the odds of being over-educated. University long-cycle seems to involve less risk to have a job mismatch than short cycle programmes. At the same time, graduates from scientific fields have lesser likelihood of being over-educated than graduates from humanities fields. Third, I investigate the effects of over-education on wages, job satisfaction and on-the-job search. Graduates with no matching jobs earn less, they have lower job satisfaction and they are more frequently looking for other job than graduates with matching jobs. Finally, I show that graduate women meet with difficulties more than men on the labour market at the beginning of their working life, i.e. it's more likely women experience the negative effects of overeducation than their colleagues-men.


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