Are Lots of College Graduates Taking High School Jobs? A Reconsiderationof the Evidence

31 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2000 Last revised: 30 Jul 2010

See all articles by John H. Tyler

John H. Tyler

Brown University - Taubman Center for Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Richard J. Murnane

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Frank S. Levy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning

Date Written: May 1995

Abstract

Several recent published papers have asserted that a growing proportion of workers with college degrees are either unemployed or employed in jobs requiring only high school skills. Using data from the 1980 and 1990 Censuses of Population and Housing, we show that this assertion does not accurately reflect labor market trends for young (25-34 year old) male or female college graduates or for older (45-54 year old) female college graduates. For all these groups, real earnings increased during the 1980s and the percentage in 'high school jobs' declined. The assertion is valid only for older male college graduates. Young college graduates improved their labor market position during the 1980s by increasingly obtaining degrees in occupations which had high earnings at the beginning of the decade and which had the highest earnings growth over the decade.

Suggested Citation

Tyler, John H. and Murnane, Richard J. and Levy, Frank S., Are Lots of College Graduates Taking High School Jobs? A Reconsiderationof the Evidence (May 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5127. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225192

John H. Tyler (Contact Author)

Brown University - Taubman Center for Public Policy ( email )

Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-1036 (Phone)
401-863-1276 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Richard J. Murnane

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
Gutman Library 409
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-4820 (Phone)
617-496-3095 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-4820 (Phone)
617-496-3095 (Fax)

Frank S. Levy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Room 9-316
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-253-2089 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://dusp.mit.edu/faculty/frank-levy

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