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The Transition from University to Work in Italy (1998-2011): Over-education and Gender Differences across Fields of Study

TitleThe Transition from University to Work in Italy (1998-2011): Over-education and Gender Differences across Fields of Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDe Luigi N, Santangelo F
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published10/2017
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordsfield of study, Gender, over-education, sample selection bias

With higher education expanding, there is a higher likelihood that graduates are employed in jobs for which their education level is superior to the required one. While previous research has shown that fields of study make a difference in the likelihood of being over-educated in the university-to-work transition, the main novelty of this paper is to take another step forward in the investigation of the mechanisms governing over-education, focusing on whether men and women with a degree in the same field of study run the same risk of being over-educated in their current employment. Using data from the Italian Graduates Employment Survey (1998-2011), the paper applies two adaptations from a methodological point of view. First, it develops a Heckman model to adjust the effect due to the process of selection into the sample of graduate employees. Secondly, it tries to reduce the error in the measurement of over-education by combining two different measures that are usually implemented separately. The results provide evidence that, although the disadvantage of women with respect to men in terms of the probability of over-education has disappeared, gender inequalities endure within specific fields of study.