Much ado about social outcomes? Effective skill, skill mismatch, and their relation with job satisfaction and other social outcomes

Marie-Christine Fregin, Ineke Bijlsma, Rolf van der Velden

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Skills and skill mismatches are claimed to have major consequences for societies and individuals, although convincing evidence mainly exists for wages. Our article examines the association between skill mismatch and job satisfaction as well as other social outcomes, such as political efficacy and social trust. Drawing on data from the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), we contribute to sociological research by applying the ‘effective skill’ concept, a new conceptual approach to measure skill mismatch. We relate this new concept to job satisfaction and other social outcomes, comparing our results with alternative skill mismatch indicators. Our findings provide empirical evidence for two important messages: First, we provide evidence that once we use objective indicators for the skill match – and we make use of all measures that we currently have – there is no association between skill mismatch and job satisfaction. In fact, job satisfaction is driven by skill use, not by skill mismatches or skill proficiency. Second, we show that effective skill and skill mismatch are associated with other social outcomes, having quite considerable effects especially on political efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMaastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2018

Publication series

SeriesGSBE Research Memoranda


  • skill mismatch
  • effective skill
  • overskilling
  • job satisfaction
  • social outcomes

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