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The Barriers to Occupational Mobility: An Aggregate Analysis

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  • Giovanni Gallipoli

    (UBC)

  • Matias Cortes

    (University of Manchester)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the barriers to occupational mobility using a theoretical framework that parallels that of the gravity models commonly estimated in the trade literature. The model provides an equation linking flows of workers across occupation pairs to a set of source and destination occupation characteristics, and to the transition costs faced by workers. The equation is estimated using data from the matched monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) from 1994 to 2012. The main proxies for the transition cost investigated in the paper are related to the task content of occupations, specifically task distance (the degree of dissimilarity in the mix of task requirements across the occupation pair) and a set of indicator variables for transitions that involve changes across major task groups. Task-related variables are found to play a substantial role in increasing the cost of switching between occupations. In a counterfactual scenario where workers are able to switch occupations without bearing any task-related costs, occupational mobility rates for the majority of the occupations in our sample would increase by between 7 and 30 percentage points.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Gallipoli & Matias Cortes, 2014. "The Barriers to Occupational Mobility: An Aggregate Analysis," 2014 Meeting Papers 480, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed014:480
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David Comerford & Jose V Rodriguez Mora & Michael J Watts, 2017. "The rise of meritocracy and the inheritance of advantage," Working Papers 1716, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    2. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2017. "Human Capital Spillovers and the Geography of Intergenerational Mobility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 25, pages 208-233, April.
    3. Galindo da Fonseca, João Alfredo & Gallipoli, Giovanni & Yedid-Levi, Yaniv, 2020. "Match quality and contractual sorting," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    4. Joao Alfredo Galindo da Fonseca & Giovanni Gallipoli & Yaniv Yedid-Levi, 2016. "Revisiting the Relationship Between Unemployment and Wages," Working Papers 2016-001, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    5. Artuç, Erhan & McLaren, John, 2015. "Trade policy and wage inequality: A structural analysis with occupational and sectoral mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 278-294.
    6. Xiaodong Zhu & Trevor Tombe, 2015. "Trade, Migration and Regional Income Differences: Evidence from China," 2015 Meeting Papers 1534, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Ji Ting, 2019. "Aggregate implications of occupational inheritance in China and India," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 19(1), pages 1-24, January.
    8. Kondo, Ayako & Naganuma, Saori, 2015. "Inter-industry labor reallocation and task distance," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 127-147.
    9. Trevor Tombe & Xiaodong Zhu, 2019. "Trade, Migration, and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis of China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(5), pages 1843-1872, May.
    10. Bauer, Anja, 2015. "Reallocation patterns across occupations," IAB Discussion Paper 201526, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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