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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
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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," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. 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.
  3. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Antonczyk, Dirk & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Leuschner, Ute, 2009. "Can a Task-Based Approach Explain the Recent Changes in the German Wage Structure?," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-132, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881, May.
  6. Guido Heineck & Silke Anger, 2008. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 124, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Longhi, Simonetta & Brynin, Malcolm, 2010. "Occupational change in Britain and Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 655-666, August.
  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. 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.
  13. 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.
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