Complex-task biased technological change and the labor market
Review of Economic Dynamics,
In this paper we study the relationship between task complexity and the occupational wage- and employment structure. Complex tasks are defined as those requiring higher-order skills, such as the ability to abstract, solve problems, make decisions, or communicate effectively. We measure the task complexity of an occupation by performing Principal Component Analysis on a broad set of occupational descriptors in the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) data. We establish four main empirical facts for the U.S. over the 1980–2005 time period that are robust to the inclusion of a detailed set of controls, subsamples, and levels of aggregation: (1) There is a positive relationship across occupations between task complexity and wages and wage growth; (2) Conditional on task complexity, routine-intensity of an occupation is not a significant predictor of wage growth and wage levels; (3) Labor has reallocated from less complex to more complex occupations over time; (4) Within groups of occupations with similar task complexity labor has reallocated to non-routine occupations over time. We then formulate a model of Complex-Task Biased Technological Change with heterogeneous skills and show analytically that it can rationalize these facts. We conclude that workers in non-routine occupations with low ability of solving complex tasks are not shielded from the labor market effects of automatization.
The Skills Balance in Germany’s Import Intensity of Exports: An Input-output Analysis
In the decade prior to the economic and financial crisis, Germany’s net exports increased in absolute terms as well as relative to the growing level of import intensity of domestically produced export goods and services. This article analyses the direct and indirect employment effects induced both by exports as well as by of the import intensity of the production process of export goods and services on the skills used. It shows that Germany’s export surpluses led to positive net employment effects. Although the volume of imports of intermediate goods increased and was augmented by the rise in exports, it could not undermine the overall positive employment effect.
International Trade Patterns and Labour Markets – An Empirical Analysis for EU Member States
International Journal of Economics and Business Research,
During the last decades, international trade flows of the industrialized countries became more and more intra-industry. At the same time, employment perspectives particularly of the low-skilled by tendency deteriorated in these countries. This phenomenon is often traced back to the fact that intra-industry trade (IIT), which should theoretically involve low labour market adjustment, became increasingly vertical in nature. Against this background, the present paper investigates the relationship between international trade patterns and selected labour market indicators in European countries. As the results show, neither inter- nor vertical intra-industry trade (VIIT) do have a verifiable effect on wage spread in EU member states. As far as structural unemployment is concerned, the latter increases only with the degree of countries’ specialization on capital intensively manufactured products in inter-industry trade relations. Only for unemployment of the less-skilled, a slightly significant impact of superior VIIT seems to exist.
International Fragmentation of Production and the Labour Input into Germany’s Exports – An Input-Output-Analysis
The import penetration of exports has become a topic of public debate, particularly in the context of Germany’s position as one of the world’s leading exporters. The growth in the volume of intermediate products purchased from abroad for subsequent processing into export goods in Germany seems to be undermining the importance of exports as a driver of domestic production and employment. The gains that arise from an increase in exports seem to have been offset by the losses caused by the crowding out of local production by imports. Empirical evidence on the impact of this international integration of the goods market on the German labour market is ambiguous. Short-term negative effects on employment are claimed to be offset by the long-term benefit that the jobs lost in the short run will eventually be replaced by higher-skilled jobs with better
perspectives. Against this background, the following hypothesis is tested empirically: Germany is poor in natural resources, but rich in skilled labour. In line with the Heckscher- Ohlin theory, Germany should therefore specialize in the production of export goods and services that are relatively intensive in these factors and should import those goods and services that are relatively intensive in unskilled labour. The empirical part of the paper deals with the extent of the German export penetration by imports. At first, it analyses by what ways imports are affecting the exports directly and indirectly and shows the consequences of import penetration of exports for the national output and employment. Secondly, consequences for employment are split in different skill types of labour. These issues are discussed with the standard open static inputoutput- model. The data base is a time series of official input-output tables. The employment effects for Germany divided by skill types of labour are investigated using skill matrices generated by the authors.