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Occupational Mobility, Occupation Distance and Specific Human Capital

Measures of occupation distance based on underlying skill portfolios are constructed and used to contrast involuntary and total mobility. One component of total occupational mobility is voluntary mobility, including moves to higher job offers using the same skills, as well as promotions that may reflect augmented skills. These are not sources of specific human capital loss. By contrast, the involuntary mobility component due to plant closure involves a higher incidence of loss of specific capital. The evidence indicates that a decreasing fraction of occupation switches involve significant skill portfolio switches: the mean distance in involuntary occupational mobility declines significantly over time. Wage losses following displacement are strongly related to distance. This is reflected in a marked downward shift in the skill portfolio for involuntary occupation switchers. By contrast, the direction of the skill portfolio change in total mobility shows a neutral or modest upward pattern, suggesting limited specific human capital loss from voluntary occupational mobility.

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File URL: http://economics.uwo.ca/cibc/workingpapers_docs/wp2011/Robinson05.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity in its series University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers with number 20115.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:hcuwoc:20115
Contact details of provider: Postal: CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/cibc_workingpapers.html

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  1. Kambourov, Gueorgui & Manovskii, Iourii, 2004. "Rising Occupational and Industry Mobility in the United States: 1968-1993," IZA Discussion Papers 1110, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Iourii Manovskii & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2004. "Occupational Specificity of Human Capital," 2004 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. 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.
  4. David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
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  6. Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2011. "Tasks and Heterogeneous Human Capital," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-06, McMaster University.
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  8. Firpo, Sergio & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 2012. "Occupational tasks and changes in the wage structure," Textos para discussão 284, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  9. F. Vella & G. Moscarini, 2004. "Aggregate Worker Reallocation and Occupational Mobility in the United States: 1976-2000," 2004 Meeting Papers 183, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Parent, Daniel, 2000. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 306-23, April.
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  12. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  13. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Thomsson, Kaj, 2006. "Occupational and Job Mobility in the US," Working Papers 19, Yale University, Department of Economics.
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