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Analyzing the incidence and causes offield of study mismatch in Turkey: evidence from TURKSTAT labor force surveys

Ege, Ahmet Alper
Field of study mismatch occurs when attained field of study is different from field of study required for doing the job well. Using TURKSTAT labor force surveys, this thesis attempts to analyze incidence level and causes of field of study mismatch in Turkey. Mismatch is measured by using coding scheme. Its determinants are analyzed by estimating binary logistic regression model, with an emphasis on the effect of labor market conditions. Analysis of incidences indicates that Turkey has high incidence of mismatch at an increasing trend between 2012 and 2016. The findings are remarkably much worse for some fields. For example, 92.5% of graduates from “arts” at vocational and technical high schools, and 71.2% of graduates from “computing” at higher education work in jobs that are unrelated to their fields of study. Regression results for 2016 yields that likelihood of mismatch increases as “field specific employment rate” decreases, which indicates that mismatch does not result uniquely from workers’ choice, but is highly responsive to labor market context. Moreover, overeducated employees are far more likely to be mismatched than vertically well-matched ones. These findings imply that when supply of graduates from a field is more than jobs available in that field, graduates are forced to accept jobs outside their fields and/or below their education level which causes them to be field of study mismatched and/or overeducated. Balancing supply of graduates and improving effectiveness of labor market mechanism may be primary policy recommendations to be proposed by focusing on high priority fields which have the highest incidences with the worst labor market indicators.