University of Naples Parthenope (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 2972-2980
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In more recent years, the expansion of higher education in Europe has also been involving doctoral education whose importance has become explicit in the EU agenda thanks to its role in contributing to the long-run growth in a knowledge-based economy. In 2004, in Europe just 3.3% of tertiary students was studying for a doctoral degree with a divide in favour of Northern countries (except for Portugal); in Italy, this rate was 1.9% with a gap in favour of females. Over the last years, the amount of Ph.D. holders showed an upward trend in all countries, included Italy where the share of Ph.Ds. of 1.6% in 2010 was perfectly in line with the EU-27 average.

Ph.D. holders may be mismatched in the labour market in two respects:
1) overeducation, if this high level of qualification exceeds the requirements to get the current job position;
2) overskilling, if the competences acquired are useless in performing the job. If the skill levels of overeducated workers are linked to their job satisfaction, the genuinely overeducated, actually dissatisfied with their occupation, may be split from those who are just apparently overeducated.

The paper addresses the outcomes of doctoral process in Italy, their impact on careers of Ph.D. graduates and how effectively society receives appropriate and necessary skills. More precisely, the work investigates the effectiveness of doctoral education in the twofold perspective of formal relevance of Ph.D. qualification in the labour market and substantial relevance of skills acquired for different occupations inside and outside academia. The paper also aims at sketching a profile of Ph.Ds. at risk of overeducation and\or overskilling through the scouting of their main determinants and penalty in terms of lower marginal rewards for educational mismatched workers relative to their matched peers.

The analysis draws upon the census data from the total Survey on Doctorate Holders’ Vocational Integration, carried out by Istat on two cohorts of Ph.D. graduates in Italy in 2004 and 2006 with the aim to detect the employment conditions at three and five years after graduation.

In a methodological perspective, the different dynamics of overeducation and overskilling characterizing the Ph.D. holders’ careers inside or outside university justify their separate treatment. Logit models are tested in order to assess the main determinants of overeducation and overskilling and the probability that these events occur. Then, to assess the role of mismatches on wage penalty, log-earnings equations are estimated in the two specifications of overeducation and overskilling.

Briefly, the highest share of mismatched workers concerns Ph.D. recipients who take up a career outside universities. Greater rewards are related to male Ph.Ds., who live in the North of Italy and attained a high-qualitatively doctorate. While higher earnings are linked to physics, life science, law and economics and lower wages to humanities, a doctorate in engineering oppositely acts on earnings in jobs inside or outside university; similarly, being a younger Ph.D. graduate affects wages in the two opposite ways. Earnings are directly connected to the quality of doctoral training, mainly for Ph.Ds. outside academe for which overskilling deals with more severity. Pay penalties increase if personal characteristics of Ph.Ds. are not controlled (unconditional estimates), probably because lower qualities of human capital characterize those who accept mismatched jobs.
Doctorate graduates, Education and Skill Mismatch, Log-earnings equation.