On the moderation of the relation between overeducation and depressive symptoms through labor market and macro-economic factors.

Affiliation

Department of Sociology - Ghent University, Korte Meer 5, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Empirical research has consistently shown that overeducation is positively associated with depressive symptoms. However, little is known about the cross-national variation of this association. This study investigates the issue by examining how macro-economic factors and labor-market policies moderate the link between two objective measures of overeducation (the realized-matches and job-analyst methods) and depressive symptoms. Analysis is based on individual-level data from the European Social Survey, Rounds 3, 6, and 7 (N = 51,054). Results from 20 countries, based on a sample of respondents between the ages of 20 and 65 years, indicate that higher unemployment rates are the primary factor strengthening the relationship between overeducation and depressive symptoms. The realized-matches method reveals one important exception for women. This exception is reported and discussed in light of the literature on gender discrimination. Our results provide no evidence that labor-market policies (unemployment benefits and employment-protection legislation) have any impact on the relationship under study.

Keywords

Comparative research,Depressive symptoms,Labor market,Macro-economy,Overeducation,