In most European countries, including Germany, tertiary education is mostly publicly financed. It is therefore of central relevance for the State and for society that this investment of public means occurs in an efficient way, and that the conditions for a successfull higher education are warranted.

On important criterian for successfull higher education are the labour market outcomes of graduates. In this project, we investigate the determinants of adequate employment for graduates, which is one way to measure the effectivity of educational investments.
We consider both formal and non-formal criteria to  describe adequate employment. A formally adequate job can be defined as an occupation that requires the obtained educational level and therefore matches the formal level of education.
In order to identify the factors contributing to  the obtention of adequate employment, we study the determinants of the transition to adequate employment at the individual level. In particular, we focus on the type of higher education, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, as well as family background.
These analyses are performed separately for graduates from different subjects in order to identify possible heterogenuous effects. A special focus will be on the MINT (Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Engineering and Physics) subjects, as they contribute most to firms' capacity to innovate.

Besides studying formally adequate employment, we also consider non-formal job adequacy. Non-formal job adequacy  refers to the quality of the match between the job requirements and  performed tasks, and the skills, personality and professional goals of the employees. It is measured using information from an employee survey data on the skill requirements and physical and psychological constraints of their jobs.

The selection of students with different characteristics into different subjects of study has to be taken into account for all analyses. The project aims to provide insights as to the effectivity of career paths and eventually some policy recommendations for higher education.

The research project is supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The research grant is labelled as “01PW11019”. The project is part of the line of funding "The Economics of Science" in the BMBF area programme "University Research". logofundedbymbmbf

Selected Publications

Articles in Refereed Journals

Berlingieri, Francesco (2019), Local labor market size and qualification mismatch, Journal of Economic Geography 19 (6), 1261–1286. Download

Erdsiek, Daniel (2016), Overqualification of Graduates: Assessing the Role of Family Background, Journal for Labour Market Research Volume 49, Issue 3, 253–268. Download

Discussion and Working Papers

Berlingieri, Francesco (2017), Local Labor Market Size and Qualification Mismatch, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 17-055, Mannheim. Download

Berlingieri, Francesco and Ulrich Zierahn (2014), Field of Study, Qualification Mismatch, and Wages: Does Sorting Matter?, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 14-076, Mannheim. Download

Berlingieri, Francesco and Daniel Erdsiek (2012), How Relevant Is Job Mismatch for German Graduates?, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 12-075, Mannheim. Download

Selected Events

Project duration

01.08.2011 - 31.07.2014


Prof. Dr. Melanie Arntz
Prof. Dr. Marianne Saam

Project members

Prof. Dr. Melanie Arntz (Coordinator)
Prof. Dr. Marianne Saam
Dr. Maresa Sprietsma
Dr. Francesco Berlingieri
Dr. Daniel Erdsiek
Dr. Ulrich Zierahn