Economics of Education Review
This study examines whether the size of the college earnings premium varies depending on the quality of the match between an individual’s degree field and his/her occupation. The study uses the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to obtain a new measure of the quality of occupational match for a sample of 2268 young adults with post-secondary degrees from the restricted use High School and Beyond (1980/92) data. The study finds that people whose occupations better match their degree fields earn significantly higher returns to post-secondary schooling. This result is robust to controlling for an extensive set of pre-existing differences among individuals, and to accounting for differences in earnings across post-secondary degree fields.