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Social Forces Colloquium Series: Jonathan Horowitz, UNC
September 25, 2019 @ 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Underemployed and Overcompensated: The Uncertain Rewards of a Bachelor’s Degree
How have the economic returns to a bachelor degree changed? Using Current Population Data and a new measurement of occupational positions that integrates skills and occupational power, we demonstrate an apparent paradox where college-educated workers are, as a group, both increasingly underemployed but paid more money than in the past. As workers with bachelor’s degrees increasingly enter less desirable occupations across birth cohorts, the shift towards an “on-your-own” economy with fewer redistribution mechanisms and greater risk for workers led to substantially greater rewards for managerial and professional occupations than other occupations. Thus, there are fewer “winners” among college-educated workers, but many of those winners receive more than ever before.