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Measuring and interpreting trends in the division of labour in the Netherlands

Author

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  • Bas ter Weel

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Semih Akcomak

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Lex Borghans

Abstract

This paper introduces indicators about the division of labour to measure and interpret recent trends in employment in the Netherlands. We show that changes in the division of labour occur at three different levels: the level of the individual worker, the level of the industry and the spatial level. At each level, the current organisation of work is determined by an equilibrium of forces that glue tasks together and unbundled tasks. Communication costs are the main force for clustering or gluing together tasks; comparative advantage stimulates unbundling and specialisation. Our results show that on average the Netherlands has witnessed unbundling in the period 1996-2005. So, on average the advantages of specialisation have increased. These developments can explain to a considerable extent changes in the structure of employment. Especially at the spatial level, our approach explains a substantial part of the increase in offshoring during this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Bas ter Weel & Semih Akcomak & Lex Borghans, 2010. "Measuring and interpreting trends in the division of labour in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 161, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:161
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tobias Brändle & Andreas Koch, 2014. "Offshoring and Outsourcing Potentials - Evidence from German Micro-Level Data," IAW Discussion Papers 110, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    2. Bruno Funchal & Jandir Soares Junior, 2013. "Understanding demand for skylls after technological trade liberalization," Fucape Working Papers 40, Fucape Business School.
    3. Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2011. "Wage inequality in trade-in-tasks models," CPB Discussion Paper 196, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    4. Nicole Bosch & Bas ter Weel, 2013. "Labour-Market Outcomes of Older Workers in the Netherlands: Measuring Job Prospects Using the Occupational Age Structure," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(2), pages 199-218, June.
    5. Semih Akcomak & Henri de Groot & Stefan Groot, 2013. "The impact of trade, offshoring and multinationals on job loss and job finding," CPB Discussion Paper 252, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    6. Suzanne Kok & Bas ter Weel, 2014. "Cities, Tasks, And Skills," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(5), pages 856-892, November.
    7. Semih Akcomak & H. Burcu Gurcihan, 2013. "Turkiye Isgucu Piyasasinda Mesleklerin Onemi : Hizmetler Sektoru Istihdami, Isgucu ve Ucret Kutuplasmasi," Working Papers 1321, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
    8. Semih Akcomak & Suzanne Kok & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2013. "The effects of technology and offshoring on changes in employment and task-content of occupations," CPB Discussion Paper 233, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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