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The Allocation of Talent over the Business Cycle and its Effect on Sectoral Productivity

  • Michael Boehm
  • Martin Watzinger

It is well documented that graduates enter different occupations in recessions than in booms. In this article, we examine the impact of this reallocation for long-term productivity and output across sectors. We develop a model in which talent flows to stable sectors in recessions and to cyclical sectors in booms. We find evidence for the predicted change in productivity caused by the business cycle in a setting where output can be readily measured: economists starting or graduating from their PhD in a recession are significantly more productive over the long term than economists starting or graduating in a boom.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1143.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1143
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  1. George J. Borjas & Kirk B. Doran, 2012. "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1143-1203.
  2. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
  3. Oddbjørn Raaum & Knut Røed, 2006. "Do Business Cycle Conditions at the Time of Labor Market Entry Affect Future Employment Prospects?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 193-210, May.
  4. Philipp Kircher & Iourii Manovski & Fane Nadja Groes, 2009. "The U-Shapes of Occupational Mobility," 2009 Meeting Papers 26, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. John Van Reenen & Richard B. Freeman, 2009. "What if Congress doubled R&D spending on the physical sciences?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25478, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Yuji Genda & Ayako Kondo & Souichi Ohta, 2010. "Long-Term Effects of a Recession at Labor Market Entry in Japan and the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
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