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Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach

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Author Info

  • Regula Geel

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

Mobility and flexibility is increasingly demanded as structural change challenges estab-lished educational systems and traditional occupational demarcations. We use Lazear’s skill-weights approach (2003) first to operationalize the degree of specificity of skill com-binations in an innovative manner and second to derive hypotheses about the effects of occupation-specific skill combinations. In our empirical section, we find that the more specific an occupation, the smaller is the probability of an occupational change, as ex-pected. Furthermore, we are able to identify different clusters of occupations that are char-acterized by similar skill combinations within a given cluster and different skill combina-tions between clusters. We find that employees in very specific occupations have a com-paratively higher probability of changing their occupation within than between skill clus-ters. Moreover, occupational mobility within a skill cluster is accompanied by wage gains, while mobility between skill clusters results in wage losses. Not surprisingly, the more specific the former occupation is, either the higher is the resulting wage loss or the smaller is the resulting wage gain depending on whether the move is between or within skill clus-ters, respectively. Therefore, the acquired skill combination rather than the occupation per se crucially determines the mobility of an employee.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/leadinghouse/0047_lhwpaper.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Economics of Education Working Paper Series with number 0047.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0047

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Keywords: Skill-weights approach; mobility; skill clusters; apprenticeship training;

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References

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  1. Regula Geel & Johannes Mure & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2008. "Specificity of Occupational Training and Occupational Mobility: An Empirical Study Based on Lazear’s Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0038, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  2. Damon Clark & René Fahr, 2002. "The Promise of Workplace Training for Non-College Bound Youth: Theory and Evidence from German Apprenticeship," CEP Discussion Papers dp0518, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Borghans Lex & Golsteyn Bart, 2006. "Skill Transferability Regret and Mobility," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Benefits of Apprenticeship Training and Recent Challenges Ð Empirical Results and Lessons from Switzerland and Germany," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0097, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  2. Jens Mohrenweiser, 2012. "Recruitment and Apprenticeship Training," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0073, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Aug 2013.
  3. Mohrenweiser, Jens & Zwick, Thomas, 2008. "Why Do Firms Train Apprentices? The Net Cost Puzzle Reconsidered," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-019, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2013. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition," IZA Discussion Papers 7750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Barbara Mueller & Juerg Schweri, 2012. "The returns to occupation-specific human capital - Evidence from mobility after training," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0081, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  6. Kathrin Goeggel & Thomas Zwick, 2011. "Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Apprenticeship Training," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0062, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  7. Warnke, Arne Jonas & Ederer, Peer & Schuller, Philipp, 2012. "Cognitive skills, tasks and job mobility," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62026, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  8. Lerman, Robert I., 2013. "Skill Development in Middle Level Occupations: The Role of Apprenticeship Training," IZA Policy Papers 61, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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