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Skill demand and the comparative advantage of age: Jobs tasks and earnings from the 1980s to the 2000s in Germany

  • Gordo, Laura Romeu
  • Skirbekk, Vegard
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    We study the impact of rapid technological change on age and cohort variation in type of work and wages among German men for the 1986–2006 period. Using a task-based approach, we analyze the consequences that technological progress had on changes in the distribution of tasks performed by the men and the relative wages they received. Technological changes implied fewer physically demanding job tasks and a growing use of cognitive skills, particularly tasks where fluid cognitive abilities are important. A number of earlier physiological and cognitive studies suggest that younger workers have a comparative advantage in terms of physically demanding work and fluid cognitive abilities.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537112001029
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 61-69

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:22:y:2013:i:c:p:61-69
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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    1. Antonczyk, Dirk & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Leuschner, Ute, 2009. "Can a Task-Based Approach Explain the Recent Changes in the German Wage Structure?," IZA Discussion Papers 4050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    4. Black, Sandra E. & Spitz-Oener, Alexandra, 2007. "Explaining Women's Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women's Work," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-033, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    8. Ahituv, Avner & Zeira, Joseph, 2002. "Technical Progress and Early Retirement," Working Paper Series rwp02-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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    10. BEHAGHEL Luc & GREENAN Nathalie, 2007. "Training and age-biased technical change," Research Unit Working Papers 0705, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
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    15. 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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