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Cognitive skills, tasks and job mobility

Author

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  • Warnke, Arne Jonas
  • Ederer, Peer
  • Schuller, Philipp

Abstract

The authors investigate on the basis of primary and secondary data the relationship between individual cognitive skills and the complexity of the particular work those individuals perform. Additionally, the relationship between skills and mobility between more or less complex jobs in an highly homogenous industrial environment is analyzed. The primary data consists of a survey conducted in 2011 of anonymously tested 305 participants in selected factories of four different companies. The survey consists of a newly developed dynamic problem solving test and a standard general intelligence test. Skill measurement is supplemented by information about tasks and personal background. Results are compared to larger scale secondary data sources. Special focus is placed on different employment groups within a company: assemblers, craftsmen, technicians and engineers. Using this data, we can show that non-routine content of individual work is strongly related to cognitive skills. Also, higher cognitive skill levels predict upward occupational mobility. Finally, we demonstrate that the established task-based approach helps to explain why the occupational mobility between some occupational groups is lower than between others. These findings can be useful for the discovery of opportunities for occupational upward mobility in a homogenous environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Warnke, Arne Jonas & Ederer, Peer & Schuller, Philipp, 2012. "Cognitive skills, tasks and job mobility," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62026, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:62026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Desjardins & Arne Jonas Warnke, 2012. "Ageing and Skills: A Review and Analysis of Skill Gain and Skill Loss Over the Lifespan and Over Time," OECD Education Working Papers 72, OECD Publishing.
    2. David Autor & David Dorn, 2009. "This Job Is "Getting Old": Measuring Changes in Job Opportunities Using Occupational Age Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 45-51, May.
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    4. Antonczyk Dirk & Leuschner Ute & Fitzenberger Bernd, 2009. "Can a Task-Based Approach Explain the Recent Changes in the German Wage Structure?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(2-3), pages 214-238, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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