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Title: Essays on Higher Education and Job Matching
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1. Rama, Apoorva
Essays on Higher Education and Job Matching
Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, The Ohio State University, 2019
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: Department of Economics, The Ohio State University
Keyword(s): College Major/Field of Study/Courses; Occupational Information Network (O*NET); Skills; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics); Transition, School to Work; Wage Penalty/Career Penalty; Wages

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

This dissertation is comprised of three chapters on education economics, focusing on college graduates transitioning into the labor market. In the first chapter, "Multidimensional Skill Mismatch among College Graduates," I use college transcript data from a sample of college graduates in the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97) and occupational descriptors from the Occupation Information Network (O*NET) database to develop a novel "skill mismatch" index. This index measures the distance between a vector of skills acquired in college and a vector of skills required in the post-college occupation. By assessing various skill groups (mathematics, language, etc.), the skill mismatch index treats both workers and occupations as multidimensional entities. I provide evidence that the skill mismatch index is a refinement over previously developed empirical mismatch measures that rely on degree or college major to define mismatch.

In the second chapter, "Measuring the STEM Wage Premium Among College Graduates," I estimate the wage benefits associated with training in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and assess the sensitivity of the STEM wage premium to changes in the way STEM is measured. Measuring STEM can differ in two ways: the definition of STEM (i.e., determining what fields are STEM) and incorporating STEM training into the empirical analysis with a dichotomous or continuous measure of STEM training. Using a sample of college graduates with college transcript data in the NLSY97, I compare a total of six measures STEM training: for three different definitions of STEM (based on lists published by three different U.S. government agencies), I construct a continuous measure of STEM training (based on the amount of STEM coursework completed in college) and a dichotomous measure (based on if the worker completed a STEM major). Although the results confirm the general finding that there is a STEM wage premium, they demonstrate tha t estimates of that premium are relatively insensitive to the definition of STEM training but highly sensitive to whether a dichotomous or continuous measure is used.

In the third chapter, "Education and Job Matching: A Two Cohort Comparison," I compare the incidence and log-wage penalty of overeducation and undereducation among two generations of college graduates. Mismatch is defined based on degree, where a worker is classified as overeducated (undereducated) is he completes a degree that is greater (less) than what is required by his occupation. Data for the older cohort (born 1957-1964) is from the NLSY79 and the younger cohort (born 1980-1984) from the NLSY97.

Bibliography Citation
Rama, Apoorva. Essays on Higher Education and Job Matching. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, The Ohio State University, 2019.