English title: Population mental health and education-labour market misfit

Author(s): Piet Bracke - Sarah Missinne - Elise Pattyn - Vera van de Straat -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2013


In general, educated people experience less psychological distress and a higher subjective well-being (SWB). These mental health benefits are related to both the allocation (related to social status and economic resources) and the socialization function (related to learned effectiveness and social competence) of education. Question is whether the mental health benefits of educational attainment are limitless? We explore the potential diminishing mental health returns of educational attainment by estimating the impact of overeducation both at the individual and the societal level. At the individual level overeducation occurs when the acquired level of education exceeds the level of education required to perform a job. At the societal level, overeducation is a feature of a labour market with an oversupply of well-educated employees. Sample. We use the data of the European Social Survey Round 3 (2006) and restrict the sample to the employed population from 24 to 60 years old (N = 19,089). Variables. Depressive symptoms are measured by means of the shortened Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D 8). We used two indicator of education –years of education and education as the highest educational degree completed according to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED-97)– and two objective measure of overeducation –the job-analyst (JA) method and the realised matches (RM) method. Country level (N=23) information on the gap between the non-tertiary and tertiary educated in terms of unemployment risks, earnings, and access to skilled jobs is used to measure the oversupply of well-educated employees. Results show diminishing mental health returns of educational attainment. In addition, a depressive mood was more prevalent among the overeducated and among the tertiary educated in countries characterized by a labour market with an oversupply of well-educated.

Conference name: 20th International Conference of Europeanists, Crisis and Contingency: States of (In)stability

Location: Amsterdam

Start date: Jun 25, 2013

Type: Paper

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