Professor Florian Hoffmann, PhD

Professor Florian Hoffmann, PhD
Current Position

since 07/19

Associate Professor

Vancouver School of Economics

since 12/16

Research Fellow Department of Structural Change and Productivity

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

Research Interests

  • human capital
  • dynamic general equilibrium models

Florian Hoffmann joined the Department of Structural Change and Productivity as a Research Fellow in December 2016. His research interests lie in the determinants of life-cycle earnings and career dynamics, dynamic discrete choice models of human capital formation, estimation of equilibrium search models, and the importance of student-instructor interactions for academic achievement on the post-secondary education level.

Florian Hoffmann is Associate Professor at Vancouver School of Economics. He received his PhD from University of Toronto.

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Professor Florian Hoffmann, PhD
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Publications

HIP, RIP, and the Robustness of Empirical Earnings Processes

Florian Hoffmann

in: Quantitative Economics, No. 3, 2019

Abstract

The dispersion of individual returns to experience, often referred to as heterogeneity of income profiles (HIP), is a key parameter in empirical human capital models, in studies of life‐cycle income inequality, and in heterogeneous agent models of life‐cycle labor market dynamics. It is commonly estimated from age variation in the covariance structure of earnings. In this study, I show that this approach is invalid and tends to deliver estimates of HIP that are biased upward. The reason is that any age variation in covariance structures can be rationalized by age‐dependent heteroscedasticity in the distribution of earnings shocks. Once one models such age effects flexibly the remaining identifying variation for HIP is the shape of the tails of lag profiles. Credible estimation of HIP thus imposes strong demands on the data since one requires many earnings observations per individual and a low rate of sample attrition. To investigate empirically whether the bias in estimates of HIP from omitting age effects is quantitatively important, I thus rely on administrative data from Germany on quarterly earnings that follow workers from labor market entry until 27 years into their career. To strengthen external validity, I focus my analysis on an education group that displays a covariance structure with qualitatively similar properties like its North American counterpart. I find that a HIP model with age effects in transitory, persistent and permanent shocks fits the covariance structure almost perfectly and delivers small and insignificant estimates for the HIP component. In sharp contrast, once I estimate a standard HIP model without age‐effects the estimated slope heterogeneity increases by a factor of thirteen and becomes highly significant, with a dramatic deterioration of model fit. I reach the same conclusions from estimating the two models on a different covariance structure and from conducting a Monte Carlo analysis, suggesting that my quantitative results are not an artifact of one particular sample.

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Complex-task Biased Technological Change and the Labor Market

Colin Caines Florian Hoffmann Gueorgui Kambourov

in: Review of Economic Dynamics, April 2017

Abstract

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.

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Burdett–Mortensen Model of on-the-Job Search with Two Sectors

Florian Hoffmann Shouyong Shi

in: Review of Economic Dynamics, Special Issue in Honor of Dale Mortensen 2016

Abstract

The focus of this paper is on the steady state of a two-sector economy with undirected search where employed and unemployed workers can search for jobs, both within a sector and between the sectors. As in the one-sector model, on-the-job search generates wage dispersion among homogeneous workers. The analysis of the two-sector model uncovers a property called constant tension that is responsible for analytical tractability. We characterize the steady state in all cases with constant tension. When time discounting vanishes, constant tension yields the endogenous separation rate in each sector as a linear function of the present value for a worker. The one-sector economy automatically satisfies constant tension, in which case the linear separation rate implies that equilibrium offers of the worker value are uniformly distributed. Constant tension also has strong predictions for worker transitions and value/wage dispersion, both within a sector and between the two sectors. When constant tension does not hold, we compute the steady state numerically and illustrate its properties.

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