Do Employers Prefer Overqualified Graduates? A Field Experiment

28 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018

See all articles by Dieter Verhaest

Dieter Verhaest

KU Leuven

Elene Bogaert

Ghent University

Jeroen Dereymaeker

KU Leuven

Laura Mestdagh

KU Leuven

Stijn Baert

Ghent University; University of Antwerp; Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

We test whether employers prefer overqualified to adequately qualified job candidates. To this end, duos of fictitious applications by bachelor's and master's graduates are sent to real job openings with a bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement. For the overall sample, we find that overqualified master's graduates are 19 percent more likely to be directly invited for a job interview and 11 percent more likely to get any positive reaction. This relative advantage for overqualified workers is found to be higher for bottleneck occupations. Relative preferences also differ across employers within labor‐market segments.

Suggested Citation

Verhaest, Dieter and Bogaert, Elene and Dereymaeker, Jeroen and Mestdagh, Laura and Baert, Stijn, Do Employers Prefer Overqualified Graduates? A Field Experiment (July 2018). Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 57, Issue 3, pp. 361-388, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3192244 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/irel.12212

Dieter Verhaest (Contact Author)

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

Elene Bogaert

Ghent University

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Jeroen Dereymaeker

KU Leuven

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

Laura Mestdagh

KU Leuven

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

Stijn Baert

Ghent University ( email )

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, Antwerp 2000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uantwerpen.be/nl/personeel/stijn-baert/

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uclouvain.be/en-309318.html

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=6832

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