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Complementary Tasks and the Limits to the Division of Labour

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  • Dennis Görlich

Abstract

During the recent decades, multitasking has become a more and more common phenomenon at workplaces. Rather than specializing in a job task, workers perform bundles of tasks. Bundling occurs when tasks are complements. Using individual-level data about job tasks, we analyze which tasks are complements. Such intrapersonal task complementarities limit the division of labour as complementary tasks can only be unbundled at a cost (productivity loss). To illustrate this point, we apply our findings to the debate about the offshorability of jobs and show that the number of potentially offshorable jobs is significantly lower when task complementarities are accounted for. We also advance the current literature on offshorability by introducing an indicator at the task-level, rather than the occupation-level

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1670.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1670

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Related research

Keywords: tasks; complementarities; offshoring; offshorability; division of labor;

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References

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  1. Oecd, 2005. "Potential Offshoring of ICT-intensive Using Occupations," OECD Digital Economy Papers 91, OECD Publishing.
  2. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Borowiecki & Bernhard Dachs & Doris Hanzl-Weiss & Steffen Kinkel & Johannes Pöschl & Magdolna Sass & Thomas Christian Schmall & Robert Stehrer & Andrea Szalavetz, 2012. "Global Value Chains and the EU Industry," wiiw Research Reports 383, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.

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