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Heaven knows I’m miserable now: overeducation and reduced life satisfaction

Piper, Alan T. (2012): Heaven knows I’m miserable now: overeducation and reduced life satisfaction.

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Abstract

This study is an investigation into relative overeducation and life satisfaction using British longitudinal data. The focus is on young people rather than the whole of the life cycle, avoiding the possibility that overeducation may simply capture the increased participation in Higher Education of the young. The hypothesis is that there is a negative relationship between being overeducated and life satisfaction, and a key reason for this relates to comparisons (both with others, and the past). Using dynamic panel analysis, to account for omitted dynamics, such an association is found: the relatively overeducated seem to be relatively less happy. This result appears to fade over time, consistent with the relative comparisons notion. In addition, evidence is presented that income compensates somewhat for the loss of life satisfaction incurred by the overeducation.

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