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Inter-sectoral labor reallocation in the short run: The role of occupational similarity

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  • Curuk, Malik
  • Vannoorenberghe, Gonzague

Abstract

This paper shows that inter-sectoral labor reallocation is affected by the similarity of the occupational mix of industries within a local labor market. We develop a theory-based measure of occupational similarity between industries and show how geographic proximity to industries using similar occupations raises the ability of an industry to respond to aggregate shocks. Using data on the employment growth of region-industry pairs in the U.S., we confirm empirically that an industry's employment responds more to nationwide changes in regions where industries have access to a relatively large pool of the occupations they need. Imputing U.S. data to our model, we show that the short-run gains from trade resulting from terms of trade movements are significantly lower than in a model where workers move freely between occupations and regions. We also find that the sensitivity of employment to economic shocks differs widely across U.S. industries, from a low sensitivity in agriculture to a high sensitivity in wholesale trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Curuk, Malik & Vannoorenberghe, Gonzague, 2017. "Inter-sectoral labor reallocation in the short run: The role of occupational similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 20-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:20-36
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2017.05.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor reallocation; Gains from trade; Local labor markets;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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