The Impact of the Great Recession on Overeducated and Undereducated Workers

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



This paper analyzes the labor market impact of the Great Recession on overeducated and undereducated workers. In March 2008, the U.S. economy was near full employment with an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent. The next year, the unemployment rate peaked at 10.0 percent. The pace of the economic decline allows us to observe the workers’ education-occupation match before the downturn and examine its impact on them. We find workers categorized as undereducated prior to the Great Recession less likely to become unemployed or have their hours reduced one year later relative to their just educated and overeducated counterparts, ceteris paribus.