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The Costs of Occupational Mobility: An Aggregate Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Guido Matias Cortes

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Manchester, UK; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Giovanni Gallipoli

    ()

    (University of British Columbia, Canada; HCEO, USA; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

We estimate the costs of occupational mobility using a novel approach that relies on aggregate flows of workers across occupations rather than on wage data. The theoretical underpinnings for this approach are derived from a model of occupation choice that delivers a gravity equation linking worker flows to occupation characteristics and to transition costs, which we proxy using task data from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). Occupation flow data are constructed from the matched monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) between 1994 and 2012. We find that transition costs vary widely across occupations, are increasing in task distance (the dissimilarity in the mix of tasks performed in the two occupations) and are higher for transitions across broad task categories. However, most of the transition costs are accounted for by general, task-independent entry costs, specific to each destination occupation.

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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 17_14.

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Date of creation: Jul 2014
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:17_14
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  1. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Thomsson, Kaj, 2006. "Occupational and Job Mobility in the US," Working Papers 19, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  2. Kathryn L. Shaw, 1984. "A Formulation of the Earnings Function Using the Concept of Occupational Investment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 319-340.
  3. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2014. "Gravity Equations: Workhorse,Toolkit, and Cookbook," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
  4. Gervais, Martin & Jaimovich, Nir & Siu, Henry E. & Yedid-Levi, Yaniv, 2016. "What should I be when I grow up? Occupations and unemployment over the life cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 54-70.
  5. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2013. "The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1553-1597, August.
  6. Fane Groes & Philipp Kircher & Iourii Manovskii, 2015. "The U-Shapes of Occupational Mobility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 659-692.
  7. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  8. Sullivan, Paul, 2010. "Empirical evidence on occupation and industry specific human capital," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 567-580, June.
  9. Maxim Poletaev & Chris Robinson, 2008. "Human Capital Specificity: Evidence from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and Displaced Worker Surveys, 1984-2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 387-420, 07.
  10. Erhan Artuç & Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2010. "Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: A Structural Empirical Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1008-1045, June.
  11. Guido Matias Cortes, 2016. "Where Have the Middle-Wage Workers Gone? A Study of Polarization Using Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 63-105.
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