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Skill obsolescence, vintage effects and changing tasks

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  • Simon Janssen

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)

Abstract

Human capital is no doubt one of the most important factors for future economic growth and well-being. However, human capital is also prone to becoming obsolete over time. Skills that have been acquired at one point in time may perfectly match the skill requirements at that time but may become obsolete as time goes by. Thus, in the following paper, we study the depreciation processes of the human capital of workers performing different types of tasks with different skill requirements over a period of more than twenty years. We argue that two types of tasks must be distinguished: knowledge-based tasks and experience-based tasks. Knowledgebased tasks demand skills depending on the actual stock of technological knowledge in a society whereas experience-based tasks demand skills depending on personal factors and individual experience values. We show, by applying Mincer regressions on four different cross sections, that the human capital of people performing knowledge-based tasks suffers more from depreciation than the human capital of individuals performing experience-based tasks.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Janssen & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2008. "Skill obsolescence, vintage effects and changing tasks," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0063, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0063
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nathalie Greenan & Pierre-Jean Messe, 2014. "Transmission of vocational skills at the end of career: horizon effect and technological or organisational change," Working Papers halshs-01143496, HAL.
    2. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Benefits of Apprenticeship Training and Recent Challenges - Empirical Results and Lessons from Switzerland and Germany," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0097, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    3. Simone Tuor & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Time - Even More Costly Than Money: Training Costs of Workers and Firms," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0046, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    4. Dengler, Katharina & Matthes, Britta & Paulus, Wiebke, 2014. "Occupational Tasks in the German Labour Market : an alternative measurement on the basis of an expert database," FDZ Methodenreport 201412_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    5. Nathalie Greenan & Mathieu Narcy & Stéphane Robin, 2013. "Changements dans les entreprises et accès des seniors à la formation continue : une comparaison entre les années 1990 et 2000," Working Papers halshs-00965730, HAL.
    6. Dengler, Katharina & Matthes, Britta & Paulus, Wiebke, 2014. "Berufliche Tasks auf dem deutschen Arbeitsmarkt : eine alternative Messung auf Basis einer Expertendatenbank (Occupational Tasks in the German Labour Market : an alternative measurement on the basis o," FDZ Methodenreport 201412_de, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital; Skills; Mincer regressions;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising

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