Journal Article

Overeducation in Europe: trends, convergence, and drivers

October 1, 2018

Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 70, Issue 4, October, 2018, pp. 994–1015

Overeducation describes the situation whereby workers are located in jobs for which they are deemed overqualified. This paper examines patterns in overeducation between countries using a specifically designed panel data set constructed from the quarterly Labour Force Surveys of 28 EU countries over a 12- to 15-year period. It is not the case that overeducation has been rising rapidly over time in all countries, and where overeducation has grown, the trend has been very gradual. Furthermore, overeducation rates were found to be static or falling in approximately 50% of the 28 EU countries. The evidence points towards convergence in overeducation at a rate of 3.3% per annum. In terms of the determinants of overeducation we find evidence to support policies aimed at improving effective female participation, labour market flexibility and the practical aspects of educational provision as a means of reducing the incidence of overeducation within countries.