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Innovation and Skill Upgrading: The Rôle of External vs Internal Labour Markets

Listed author(s):
  • L. BEHAGHEL
  • E. CAROLI
  • Emmanuelle WALKOWIAK

    ()

Following technical and organisational changes, firms may react to increasing skill requirements either by training or hiring the new skills, or a combination of the two. Using matched datasets with about 1,000 French plants, we assess the relative importance of these external and internal labour market strategies. We show that skill upgrading following technological and organisational changes takes place mostly through internal labour markets adjustments. Consistently with the results in the literature, we find that new technologies and organisational changes are associated with an upward shift in the occupational structure within firms. We show that about one third of the upgrading of the occupational structure is due to hiring and firing workers on the external labour market, whereas two-thirds are due to promotions. Moreover, we find no compelling evidence of external labour market strategies based on "excess turnover". In contrast, French firms heavily rely on training in order to upgrade the skill level of their workforce. When splitting the sample across sectors, this pattern of results appears to be particularly strong for manufacturing firms whereas, in services, external labour market strategies tend to be more widespread. We then consider the determinants of the strategies chosen by firms. We argue that the relative cost of internal versus external labour market flexibility is likely to be critical and that it can be partly captured by firm size and by the density on the local labour market. We find that external labor market strategies tend to be more important when firms are located on high-density labor markets.

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Paper provided by Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans in its series LEO Working Papers / DR LEO with number 770.

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Date of creation: 2007
Handle: RePEc:leo:wpaper:770
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Web page: http://data.leo-univ-orleans.fr/RePEc/leo/
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  1. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1999. "The Entry And Exit Of Workers And The Growth Of Employment: An Analysis Of French Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 170-187, May.
  2. BEHAGHEL Luc & GREENAN Nathalie, 2007. "Training and age-biased technical change," Research Unit Working Papers 0705, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  3. Emmanuelle Walkowiak, 2006. "Renouvellement de la main-d'œuvre et modernisation des entreprises," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(6), pages 1205-1233.
  4. Philippe Zamora, 2006. "Changements organisationnels, technologiques et recours à la formation dans les entreprises industrielles," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(6), pages 1235-1257.
  5. Philippe Azkenazy & Eva Moreno, 2004. "The impact of technological and organizational changes on labor flows. Evidence on French establishments," DELTA Working Papers 2004-25, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  6. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2003. "What's driving the new economy?: the benefits of workplace innovation," Working Paper Series 2003-23, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  8. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan, 2004. "Technological change, organizational change, and job turnover," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 265-291, June.
  9. Luc Behaghel & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2003. "Insécurité de l'emploi : le rôle protecteur de l'ancienneté a-t-il baissé en France ? Suivi d'un commentaire de Fabien Postel-Vinay," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 366(1), pages 3-29.
  10. Andrea Bassanini & Alison Booth & Giorgio Brunello & Maria De Paola & Edwin Leuven, 2006. "Workplace training in Europe," Post-Print halshs-00120601, HAL.
  11. Eve Caroli & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence from A Panel of British and French Establishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1449-1492.
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