Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ethnic penalties in graduate level over-education, unemployment and wages: evidence from Britain

an article by Anthony Rafferty (University of Manchester, UK) published in Work Employment & Society Volume 26 Number 6 (December 2012)


Although access to higher education has helped many minority ethnic men and women improve their labour market position compared to prior generations or the less qualified, it remains unclear to what extent higher level qualifications facilitate an equalisation of labour market outcomes with comparably educated white UK born men and women.

This article critically examines ethnic differences in graduate level over-education, unemployment and wages as potential markers of discrimination or broader ‘ethnic penalties’, defined as the differences in labour market outcomes persisting after accounting for observable human capital and demographic characteristics.

To estimate ethnic penalties a novel approach using covariate matching is applied. The findings reveal that despite their levels of educational attainment penalties persist among several minority ethnic groups. The implications of pre-labour market social disadvantages for explaining patterns of over-education are highlighted.

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