Over-Education in Multilingual Economies: Evidence from Catalonia

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Abstract

Catalonia’s economy is characterized by linguistic diversity and provides a unique opportunity to measure the incidence of language proficiency on over-education, that is, whether individuals with deficient language skills, as non-natives, tend to accept jobs for which they have excessive formal skills. Descriptive evidence suggests the contrary, that individuals with better language knowledge are more likely to be over-educated. However, estimating a model that controls for individuals’ socio-demographic characteristics reveals the opposite: better language knowledge decreases over-education. This effect, although robust to accounting for endogeneity of language knowledge and significant at the individual level, is mostly non-significant on average.

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