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Skill demand and the comparative advantage of age: Jobs tasks and earnings from the 1980s to the 2000s in Germany

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  • Gordo, Laura Romeu
  • Skirbekk, Vegard
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    Abstract

    We study the impact of rapid technological change on age and cohort variation in type of work and wages among German men for the 1986–2006 period. Using a task-based approach, we analyze the consequences that technological progress had on changes in the distribution of tasks performed by the men and the relative wages they received. Technological changes implied fewer physically demanding job tasks and a growing use of cognitive skills, particularly tasks where fluid cognitive abilities are important. A number of earlier physiological and cognitive studies suggest that younger workers have a comparative advantage in terms of physically demanding work and fluid cognitive abilities.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 61-69

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:22:y:2013:i:c:p:61-69

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

    Related research

    Keywords: Technological change; Task-based approach; Age variation;

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    References

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    1. Jenny Meyer, 2011. "Workforce age and technology adoption in small and medium-sized service firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 305-324, October.
    2. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
    3. Luc BEHAGHEL & Nathalie GREENAN, 2010. "Training and Age-Biased Technical Change," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 99-100, pages 317-342.
    4. Hendrik P. Van Dalen & Kène Henkens & Joop Schippers, 2010. "Productivity of Older Workers: Perceptions of Employers and Employees," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 309-330.
    5. Lutz Schneider & Jutta Gunther & Bianca Brandenburg, 2010. "Innovation and skills from a sectoral perspective: a linked employer-employee analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 185-202.
    6. Thierry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2009. "Are Older Workers Harmful for Firm Productivity?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 273-292, September.
    7. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Avner Ahituv & Joseph Zeira, 2011. "Technical Progress and Early Retirement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 171-193, March.
    9. S. Montresor & G. Vittucci Marzetti, 2008. "The deindustrialisation/tertiarisation hypothesis reconsidered: a subsystem application to the OECD7," Working Papers 622, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    10. Dirk Antonczyk & Bernd Fitzenberger & Ute Leuschner, 2009. "Can a Task-Based Approach Explain the Recent Changes in the German Wage Structure?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 229(2-3), pages 214-238, June.
    11. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
    12. Sandra E. Black & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2010. "Explaining Women's Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women's Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 187-194, February.
    13. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
    14. Bartel, Ann P & Sicherman, Nachum, 1993. "Technological Change and Retirement Decisions of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 162-83, January.
    15. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
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    Cited by:
    1. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.

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