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Education-job mismatch and its impact on life satisfaction through the lens of risk preferences

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Education-job mismatch and its impact on life satisfaction through the lens of risk preferences

Ekaterina Selezneva (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg)
In the OECD countries, a mismatch between workers’ education and skills and those required by their jobs is widespread (see review by Quintini, 2011). The issue is barely studied for the transition countries. Risk attitudes are proven to have an impact on economic decisions taken (e.g. Dohmen et al, 2011). While life satisfaction is addressed, an aggregate effect of work is positive (Rätzel, 2012). In the literature one can find several factors that may modify the (strength and direction) of an impact of a particular factor on general subjective well-being. However, due to the data limitations, there is still not much research done on the impact of both education-job mismatch and risk preferences on subjective well-being.

The current study has as an objective to investigate the interrelation between individual risk-tolerance/aversion degree and occupation/employment related decisions, in the part of job-education mismatch, as well as to address how these decisions translate into the subjective perception of the mismatch and satisfaction level reported. The educational choices themselves are outside of the scope of the study.

Hypothesis 1: More Risk-averse individuals are more likely to report a (perceived) mismatch between their education and characteristics of a job.

(More risk-averse individuals are more likely to accept the first job offer coming in order to avoid/shorten periods of unemployment or inactivity.)

Hypothesis 2: More Risk-averse individuals are more likely to report lower satisfaction scores due to being employed.

(Acceptance of any job-offer regardless the skills/education match of an individual and an accepted job, in particular, the worker being overeducated for the job. The latter may lead to a lower job satisfaction and hence, lower general subjective well-being.)

Data come from Skills Towards Employability and Productivity program (STEP) launched by the World Bank in 2010. First results are received on the cross-sectional data from Armenia and Georgia in 2012-2013.

While some descriptive statistics are estimated on the whole sample available, I further narrow my attention to those aged 25-64, who answered the block of detailed questions on education and skills mismatch. The analysis is to be performed on each country sample separately.

I start with self-accessed measure of mismatch, further research will be done with the use of the realized match measures. Second dependent variable is self-reported life satisfaction. I control for personality traits, socio-demographic characteristics of household and employment characteristics. I use ordered logit as the estimation technique.
I came to the following conclusions.

As for Hypothesis 1, women are on average less risky then men. Riskier women are less likely to report being in job they are overeducated for. The result is not robust. Significance of the coefficient disappears when either job characteristics are controlled for, or younger workers are excluded from the sample, or when estimation is repeated on separate gender samples.

As for Hypothesis 2, the relevant mismatch and risk coefficients (and marginal effects) are non significant
Key works: job-education mismatch, life satisfaction, risk attitudes

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