What is it about?

This paper reviews the recent literature on educational and skills mismatch in developing countries, focusing on both the causes and the effects of mismatch on labour market outcomes. We focus on reviewing the literature to answer four broad questions: 1. Is mismatch higher in less developed countries? 2. What are the causes of mismatch in developing countries and how do the specific characteristics of developing country labor markets impact upon match quality? 3. What are the consequences of mismatch in these countries in terms of wages, productivity, job satisfaction and also economic growth? 4. What can be done to reduce mismatch in developing countries and are there lessons to be learnt from developed countries?

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Why is it important?

Private and public expenditure on education consumes vast resources in all countries. Thus, one would hope that after the investment, that the educated can find a job that appropriately uses the human capital investment. This is a challenge in developed countries, and this review suggests that it is also difficult in developing countries. Understanding the causes and effects of mismatch can help guide policy to help get to better matches in the labor market.


Understanding the quality of matches in the labor market are important for both workers (generating higher wages, higher job satisfaction and lower job turnover) and firms (higher productivity and lower turnover). Research such as this can help guide policy makers to design programs to help make labor markets more efficient and guide researchers to where outstanding areas of new research are.

Professor Keith A Bender
University of Aberdeen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Educational mismatch in developing countries: A review of the existing evidence, January 2020, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/b978-0-12-815391-8.00020-3.
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