Career progression and comparative advantage
This paper constructs and estimates a structural dynamic model of occupational choice in which all occupations are characterized in a skill requirement space using data from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the NLSY79. This skill requirement space approach has its merit in computational simplicity as well as ease of interpretation: it allows the model to include hundreds of occupations at the three-digit census classification level without a large number of parameters. Parameter estimates indicate that wages grow with the skill requirements of an occupation and that educated and experienced individuals are better rewarded in a cognitive and interpersonal skill demanding occupation. They also suggest that ignoring self-selection into occupations and individual heterogeneity may result in counter-intuitive and biased estimates of the returns to skill requirements.
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