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Imbalanced job polarization and skills mismatch in Europe


"This paper considers the education of the labour force based on an analysis of trends in and the relationships between job polarization and skills mismatch. Both job polarization and skills mismatch have become topics of increasing interest, but relationships between the two have been relatively neglected in the literature. We argue that the relationship between polarization and skills mismatch is an empirical matter, which we analyse at both the macroeconomic and microeconomic level in European countries. A novel job polarization index (JPI) is proposed to measure imbalanced job polarization. It takes into account not only the change in the share of medium-level jobs, as is typical for measuring pure polarization, but also the imbalance between the change in high-level and low-level jobs. Skills mismatch at macro-level is measured by a skills mismatch index (SMI), while traditional measures of undereducation and overeducation are used at the microeconomic level. At the macroeconomic level, we estimate a system of two equations, one for each of the country-level variables gauging polarization and mismatch, respectively. Imbalanced job polarization measured by the JPI negatively affects skills mismatch at the macroeconomic level (SMI), but there is no significant reverse effect. Thereafter we consider the microeconomic level and study the determinants of mismatch using multi-level mixed effects logistic models. The effect of imbalanced job polarization on individual-level mismatch was arguably favourable for individuals in non-crisis time, decreasing overeducation risk although also increasing the chances of undereducation, both gauged using the normative measure, but unfavourable during the global financial crisis of 2008 - 2009 and the following two years." (Author's abstract, © Springer-Verlag) ((en))

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Autorin / Autor

  • Sparreboom, Theo
  • Tarvid, Alexander

Bibliografische Daten

Sparreboom, Theo; Tarvid, Alexander (2016): Imbalanced job polarization and skills mismatch in Europe. In: Journal for Labour Market Research, Vol. 49, No. 1, S. 15-42.