Título: Essays on Overeducation: Evidence from Spain

Autora: Sandra Nieto Viramontes 

Director: Raúl Ramos Lobo

UNIVERSIDAD: Universidad de Barcelona 

Fecha de lectura: 26/09/2014

This dissertation examines several aspects related to the overeducation phenomenon in Spain. In particular, the first empirical analysis studies whether overeducated workers obtain a higher return on this training – specifically, non-education training activities – than the rest of workers. If it is so, overeducated workers could overcome part of the wage penalty derived from their education-occupation mismatch. The results showed that non-formal education activities have a positive effect on wages, but only overeducated workers who have undergone non-formal education activities receive a wage premium. It seems that this type of training providesovereducatedworkers withnewabilitiesthatpermitthemto reducethewage penalisationderived from the mismatch between their level of education and occupation.

The aim of the second empirical analysis is to test a supported theory based on the existence of individuals’ skill heterogeneity to explain the wage penalty associated with overeducation. From such a perspective, the wage penalty associated with overeducation is due to the huge variation of skills between workers with the same level of education. Then, overeducated workers would not suffer a wage penalty. In fact, they would earn lower wages as a result of their lower skills. Our hypothesis was that the wage penalty associated with overeducation could be explained by lower skill levels. As a consequence, overeducated workers may not be suffering a wage penalty in Spain, but their earnings are determined by their skill level. Our results show that individuals’ skill heterogeneity explains only 18% of the effect of educational mismatch on wages in Spain. The wage penalty still remains for those overeducated workers who are not less skilled than properly matched workers.  

Finally, the last empirical analysis aims to identify a relationship between the situation of overeducation of parents and the educational performance of their children. Previous literature found that children of highly educated parents tend to perform better than children of less educated parents. One possible explanation for the positive relationship between parents’ human capital and students’ performance is based on children’s perceptions about the importance of education. In this sense, students whose parents have a high level of education and good jobs might be more aware of the value of education and, consequently, have higher motivation and perform better than other students. Under this point of view, our hypothesis is that the existence of parents’ job-education mismatch can modify the students’ perception about the importance of education and, consequently, have an effect on their performance at school. In particular, we analyse whether there is a relationship between parents’ educational mismatch and the educational performance of their children, and we checked whether it is similar across the performance distribution or, by contrast, whether there are differences between students at the top and at the bottom of the performance distribution. The results shows that students whose parents are overeducated have a penalty in their academic achievement in all three subjects analysed, this effect being stronger for students with lower educational outcomes. So, the results seemed to confirm our hypothesis.



2015 Premio María Jesús San Segundo:

Premio a la mejor contribución de un investigador joven en las XXVI Jornadas de la Asociación de Economía de la Educación (AEDE). Título de la comunicación:  “Overeducation, skills and wage penalty: Evidence for Spain using PIAAC data”.



Nieto, S. and Ramos, R. (2013) "Non-formal education, overeducation and wages" Revista de Economía Aplicada, 61 (XXI), 5-28. [download]

Nieto, S. and Ramos, R. (2011) "¿La sobreeducación de los padres afecta al rendimiento académico de sus hijos?" Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies/Estudios Económicos Regionales y Sectoriales, 11 (3), 97-118.  In Spanish [download] 

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