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Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?

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Listed:
  • Alicia Sasser Modestino

    (Northeastern University)

  • Daniel Shoag

    (Harvard University and Case Western Reserve University)

  • Joshua Ballance

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

Abstract

Using a proprietary database of online job postings, we find that education and experience requirements rose during the Great Recession. These increases were larger in states and occupations that experienced greater increases in the supply of available workers. This finding is robust to controlling for local demand conditions and firm × job-title fixed effects and using a natural experiment arising from troop withdrawals as an exogenous shock to labor supply. Our results imply that the increase in unemployed workers during the Great Recession can account for 18% to 25% of the increase in skill requirements between 2007 and 2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Alicia Sasser Modestino & Daniel Shoag & Joshua Ballance, 2020. "Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 793-805, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:102:y:2020:i:4:p:793-805
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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