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Cognitive skills, tasks and job mobility

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

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.

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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/62026/1/VfS_2012_pid_980.pdf
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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century with number 62026.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:62026
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  2. Frieder Lang & David Weiss & Andreas Stocker & Bernhard von Rosenbladt, 2007. "Assessing Cognitive Capacities in Computer-Assisted Survey Research: Two Ultra-Short Tests of Intellectual Ability in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 183-192.
  3. Dustmann, Christian & Ludsteck, Johannes & Schönberg, Uta, 2007. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 2685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Antonczyk, Dirk & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Leuschner, Ute, 2009. "Can a Task-Based Approach Explain the Recent Changes in the German Wage Structure?," IZA Discussion Papers 4050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  6. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
  8. David Autor & David Dorn, 2009. "This Job is 'Getting Old:' Measuring Changes in Job Opportunities Using Occupational Age Structure," NBER Working Papers 14652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 535-546.
  10. Simonetta Longhi & Malcolm Brynin, 2009. "Occupational Change in Britain and Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 204, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  11. Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0047, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  12. Desjardins, Richard & Warnke, Arne Jonas, 2012. "Ageing and Skills: A Review and Analysis of Skill Gain and Skill Loss Over the Lifespan and Over Time," EconStor Preprints 57089, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
  13. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "Rising Occupational And Industry Mobility In The United States: 1968-97," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 41-79, 02.
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