Overeducation and wages: the role of cognitive skills and personality traits

working paper

Marta Palczyńska


The article was published in the Baltic Journal of Economics.

This article investigates the role of personality traits and cognitive skills as potential determinants of overeducation and in explaining the overeducation wage penalty. Using a representative survey of the Polish working-age population, with well-established measures of cognitive skills and personality traits, Palczyńska finds that accounting for personality and cognitive skills does not change the size and the statistical significance of overeducation wage penalty estimates. The results also demonstrate that personality is one of the contributors to the risk of being overeducated among workers aged 18 to 29 but not among people aged 30 to 68. Among younger workers, agreeable individuals are more likely to be overeducated while conscientious ones are less likely. Moreover, lower cognitive skills are associated with the probability of being overeducated.

keywords: overeducation, educational mismatch, wages, personality traits, cognitive skills, numeracy

JEL codes: D91 , I26 , J24 , J31

year: 2020

language: English

thematic categories: education

publishing series: IBS Working Paper

publication number: 03/2020

ISSN: 2451-4373

additional information: Research co-financed from the funds granted for science in 2018-2022 for the implementation of international projects. I would like to thank Jan Baran and Iga Magda for their insightful comments. I also thank the participants of the 2016 EALE conference and the Warsaw International Economic Meeting 2019 for their discussion and remarks.

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