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Multidimensional Skill Mismatch

Author

Listed:
  • Fatih Guvenen
  • Burhan Kuruscu
  • Satoshi Tanaka
  • David Wiczer

Abstract

What determines the earnings of a worker relative to his peers in the same occupation? What makes a worker fail in one occupation but succeed in another? More broadly, what are the factors that determine the productivity of a worker-occupation match? In this paper, we propose an empirical measure of skill mismatch for a worker-occupation match, which sheds light on these questions. This measure is based on the discrepancy between the portfolio of skills required by an occupation (for performing the tasks that produce output) and the portfolio of abilities possessed by a worker for learning those skills. This measure arises naturally in a dynamic model of occupational choice with multidimensional skills and Bayesian learning about one's ability to learn these skills. In this model, mismatch is central to the career outcomes of workers: it reduces the returns to occupational tenure, and it predicts occupational switching behaviour. We construct our empirical analog by combining data from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), O*NET, and National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79). Our empirical results show that the effects of mismatch on wages are large and persistent: mismatch in occupations held early in life has a strong effect on wages in future occupations. Skill mismatch also significantly increases the probability of an occupational switch and predicts its direction in the skill space. These results provide fresh evidence on the importance of skill mismatch for the job search process.

Suggested Citation

  • Fatih Guvenen & Burhan Kuruscu & Satoshi Tanaka & David Wiczer, 2015. "Multidimensional Skill Mismatch," Working Papers tecipa-544, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-544
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gonzalo Castex, 2017. "College risk and return," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 91-112, October.
    2. Paul Sullivan, "undated". "Job Tasks, Time Allocation, and Wages," Working Papers 2017-03, American University, Department of Economics.
    3. Fredriksson, Peter & Hensvik, Lena & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2015. "Mismatch of Talent Evidence on Match Quality, Entry Wages, and Job Mobility," Research Papers in Economics 2015:10, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    4. Edivaldo C. Neves Jr & Carlos R. Azzoni, Andre Chagas, 2017. "Skill wage premium and city size," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2017_19, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    5. Patterson, Christina & Şahin, Ayşegül & Topa, Giorgio & Violante, Giovanni L., 2016. "Working hard in the wrong place: A mismatch-based explanation to the UK productivity puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 42-56.
    6. Axel Gottfries & Coen N. Teulings, 2017. "Returns to On-The-Job Search and the Dispersion of Wages," CESifo Working Paper Series 6410, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Axel Gottfries & Coen N. Teulings, 2016. "Returns to on-the-job search and the dispersion of wages," Discussion Papers 1629, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    8. Gottfries, A. & Teulings, T., 2017. "Returns to On-the-Job Search and the Dispersion of Wages," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1737, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. repec:spr:jknowl:v:8:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s13132-016-0434-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Claudia Macaluso, 2017. "Skill Remoteness and Post-layoff Labor Market Outcomes," 2017 Meeting Papers 569, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Gottfries, Axel & Teulings, Coen, 2016. "Returns to on-the-job search and the dispersion of wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86219, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. repec:eee:jetheo:v:174:y:2018:i:c:p:184-223 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Gottfries, Axel & Teulings, Coen, 2017. "Returns to On-the-Job Search and the Dispersion of Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 10668, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Gottfries, Axel & Teulings, Coen N, 2017. "Returns to on-the-job search and the dispersion of wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 11921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Skill mismatch; match quality; Mincer regression; ASVAB; O*NET; occupational switching;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • 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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