Occupational Downgrading and Upgrading in Britain
The willingness of workers to move down an occupational hierarchy is a potentially important source of flexibility in the labor market. But, relatively little is known about the scale or pattern of occupational up- and downgrading. This paper examines who downgrades and the cyclical structure of up- and downgrading. The author finds that occupational downgrading is surprisingly large relative to flows into unemployment. Individuals who have a high payoff to skilled work, such as educated workers, are less likely to downgrade. Contrary to expectations, the rate of downgrading is found to be greater in the boom, while upgrading follows the more conventional expectation of also being procyclical. This finding is interpreted as evidence consistent with the rationing of jobs in the downgrading process, contrary to the assumptions of simple dual labor market models. Copyright 1999 by The London School of Economics and Political Science
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Volume (Year): 66 (1999)
Issue (Month): 261 (February)
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