Educational mismatch and the earnings distribution

Keith A. Bender, Kristen Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


This article focuses on the interrelationship between educational mismatch and earnings, taking three new approaches. First, we examine decompositions of the mismatch wage gap, finding that characteristics explain less than half of the mismatch penalty. Second, we use unconditional quantile regression to examine the mismatch penalty across the earnings distribution, showing that the penalty shrinks as the position in the earnings distribution increases. Third, we decompose the differentials using quantile decompositions. Different reasons for mismatch show heterogeneity in our results, with larger penalties for being mismatched due to working conditions, location, family, and no available job.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-456
Number of pages16
JournalSouthern Economic Journal
Issue number2
Early online date3 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Thanks to the participants of the 2015 New Directions in Human Capital Theory Workshop at the University of Birmingham UK, the 2016 Midwestern Economic Society Annual Meetings, the 2017 Scottish Economic Society Annual Conference, seminar participants at the University of Aberdeen and to the editor and the two referees for helpful comments on the paper. The usual disclaimer applies.


  • educational mismatch
  • earnings
  • decomposition
  • quantile regression


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