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

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  • Gordo, Laura Romeu
  • Skirbekk, Vegard

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordo, Laura Romeu & Skirbekk, Vegard, 2013. "Skill demand and the comparative advantage of age: Jobs tasks and earnings from the 1980s to the 2000s in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 61-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:22:y:2013:i:c:p:61-69
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2012.09.003
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    1. repec:spr:joevec:v:28:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00191-016-0486-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Weiss, Matthias, 2016. "Productivity and age: Evidence from work teams at the assembly line," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 30-42.
    3. Anne Sonnet & Hilde Olsen & Thomas Manfredi, 2014. "Towards More Inclusive Ageing and Employment Policies: The Lessons from France, The Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(4), pages 315-339, December.
    4. repec:eeb:articl:v:3:y:2017:n:1:p:67-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:3:p:393-410 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technological change; Task-based approach; Age variation;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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