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Multidimensional Skill Mismatch

Author

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  • Faith Guvenen
  • Burhan Kuruscu
  • Satoshi Tanaka
  • David Wiczer

Abstract

What determines the earnings of a worker relative to his peers in the same occupation? What makes a worker fail in one occupation but succeed in another? More broadly, what are the factors that determine the productivity of a worker-occupation match? To help answer questions like these, we propose an empirical measure of multidimensional skill mismatch that is based on the discrepancy between the portfolio of skills required by an occupation and the portfolio of abilities possessed by a worker for learning those skills. This measure arises naturally in a dynamic model of occupational choice and human capital accumulation with multidimensional skills and Bayesian learning about one's ability to learn skills. Not only does mismatch depress wage growth in the current occupation, it also leaves a scarring effect—by stunting skill acquisition—that reduces wages in future occupations. Mismatch also predicts different aspects of occupational switching behavior. We construct the empirical analog of our skill mismatch measure from readily available US panel data on individuals and occupations and find empirical support for these implications. The magnitudes of these effects are large: moving from the worst- to the best-matched decile can improve wages by 11 percent per year for the rest of one's career.

Suggested Citation

  • Faith Guvenen & Burhan Kuruscu & Satoshi Tanaka & David Wiczer, 2020. "Multidimensional Skill Mismatch," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 210-244, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:12:y:2020:i:1:p:210-44
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20160241
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gonzalo Castex, 2017. "College risk and return," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 91-112, October.
    2. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner & Paul Sullivan, 2019. "Job Tasks, Time Allocation, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 399-433.
    3. Stijepic Damir, 2020. "Job Mobility and Sorting: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 240(1), pages 19-49, January.
    4. Peter Fredriksson & Lena Hensvik & Oskar Nordström Skans, 2018. "Mismatch of Talent: Evidence on Match Quality, Entry Wages, and Job Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(11), pages 3303-3338, November.
    5. Addison, John T. & Chen, Liwen & Ozturk, Orgul Demet, 2017. "Occupational Match Quality and Gender over Two Cohorts," IZA Discussion Papers 11114, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Edivaldo C. Neves Jr & Carlos R. Azzoni, Andre Chagas, 2017. "Skill wage premium and city size," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2017_19, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    7. Patterson, Christina & Şahin, Ayşegül & Topa, Giorgio & Violante, Giovanni L., 2016. "Working hard in the wrong place: A mismatch-based explanation to the UK productivity puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 42-56.
    8. Axel Gottfries & Coen N. Teulings, 2017. "Returns to On-The-Job Search and the Dispersion of Wages," CESifo Working Paper Series 6410, CESifo.
    9. Rongsheng Tang & Yang Tang & Ping Wang, 2020. "Within-Job Wage Inequality: Performance Pay and Job Relatedness," NBER Working Papers 27390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Axel Gottfries & Coen N. Teulings, 2016. "Returns to on-the-job search and the dispersion of wages," Discussion Papers 1629, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    11. Gottfries, A. & Teulings, T., 2017. "Returns to On-the-Job Search and the Dispersion of Wages," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1737, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    12. Meir Russ, 2017. "The Trifurcation of the Labor Markets in the Networked, Knowledge-Driven, Global Economy," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 8(2), pages 672-703, June.
    13. Claudia Macaluso, 2017. "Skill Remoteness and Post-layoff Labor Market Outcomes," 2017 Meeting Papers 569, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    15. Gottfries, Axel & Teulings, Coen, 2016. "Returns to on-the-job search and the dispersion of wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86219, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Papageorgiou, Theodore, 2018. "Large firms and within firm occupational reallocation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 184-223.
    17. Veli Safak, 2020. "Matching Multidimensional Types: Theory and Application," Papers 2006.14243, arXiv.org.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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