Enghin Atalay, Phai Phongthiengtham, Sebastian Sotelo, Daniel Tannenbaum, 23 January 2020

Since the late 20th century, middle-wage occupations have shrunk as a share of total employment, while occupations requiring social and analytic tasks have grown. However, little is known about the degree to which individual occupations or job titles have changed over time and the extent to which these changes have been driven by new technologies. Analysing approximately 8.7 million job ads published in newspapers during 1940–2000, this column finds that non-routine analytic and interactive tasks in jobs increased, while manual tasks declined. The majority of changes have occurred within rather than between occupations. New technologies are linked to increased intensity of non-routine analytic job tasks.

Daniel Oesch, Giorgio Piccitto, 04 January 2020

The consensus view in economics is that labour markets are polarising as jobs are created in high-skilled and low-skilled occupations but disappear in mid-skilled ones. This column shows empirical evidence against the polarisation theory in Western Europe. Between 1992 and 2015, job growth in Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the UK was strongest in top-end occupations and, except in the UK, weakest in low-end occupations. 

Dany Bahar, Andreas Hauptmann, Cem Özgüzel, Hillel Rapoport, 22 November 2019

The economic debate on immigration has focused on migration’s short-term labour market and fiscal effects. Less attention has been given to the long-run economic opportunities linked to migration. This column uses the case of refugees returning to the former Yugoslavia from Germany after the end of the Yugoslav wars to explore the role that returning migrants play in shaping the industrial development of their home country. The findings support the idea that migrants are drivers of knowhow and technology transfers between countries.

Rui Costa, Swati Dhingra, Stephen Machin, 01 October 2019

Some commentators argue that globalisation is systematically connected to the real-wage and productivity stagnation seen across the developed world. This column analyses the relationship between international trade and worker outcomes in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, when the value of the sterling fell massively against other nations’ currencies. It finds that the rise in import costs from the sterling depreciation hurt wages and training. This relative decline in real earnings of workers has reinforced pre-existing real-wage stagnation; UK workers have not fared well since the referendum price rise.

Benjamin Friedrich, Lisa Laun, Costas Meghir, Luigi Pistaferri, 08 August 2019

We know little about how much fluctuations in a firm’s fortunes are passed on in wages. The column uses Swedish data from 1997 to 2008 that identifies individual workers to show that shocks to firm productivity are passed on as variation in worker wages. The variation is high for high-skilled workers. Unskilled workers, perhaps due to union or minimum wage protection, experience smaller fluctuations.

Sascha O. Becker, Ana Fernandes, Doris Weichselbaumer, 05 June 2019

The arrival of a child affects women and men differently in terms of labour market outcomes, but it is difficult to separate out the causal impact of discrimination from other factors. This column uses empirical evidence from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to show that women are most affected in part-time job applications if they signal a ‘risk’ of having young children soon.

Bas van der Klaauw, Lennart Ziegler, 02 May 2019

Although temporary jobs are often characterised by lower pay, advocates of temporary work argue that taking up such jobs can increase the chances to find regular work in the long run. This column reviews evidence on the effectiveness of a labour market ‘speed date’ programme in the Netherlands, where unemployed job seekers are matched with temporary work agencies. The speed dates are effective in reducing the costs of unemployment insurance but, in the long run, temporary work does not serve as a stepping stone towards regular employment. 

Elizabeth Caucutt, Nezih Guner, Christopher Rauh, 06 April 2019

In 2006, 67% of white women in the US between the ages of 25 and 54 were married, compared with only 34% of black women. This column examines the link between this and the decline in low-skilled jobs and the era of mass incarceration that have disproportionately affected black communities. It finds that differences in incarceration and employment dynamics between black and white men account for half of the black–white marriage gap.

Joan Monras, 03 March 2019

Arguments over the effect of immigration on labour market outcomes focus on a single number: the impact on low-skill wages. The column uses a model of the adjustment process of labour markets in the US to the peso crisis of 1995 to show there is a difference between short-run and long-run effects. The model suggests that state-level policies are unlikely to be effective.

Martín González Rozada, Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 07 September 2018

It is often assumed that the gender wage gap is driven by a demand bias. Using a large new dataset of job applications in Argentina, this column demonstrates that there is also supply bias – women ask for less pay than men for the same exact job. The analysis shows that this ‘ask gap’ is related to the job’s level, the occupation’s degree of female/male dominance, and the applicant’s age, and suggests that women may be acting on internalised stereotypes of the labour market.

Hans Hvide, Paul Oyer, 22 March 2018

The majority of male entrepreneurs in Norway start a firm in an industry closely related to the one in which their father is employed. These entrepreneurs outperform others in the same industry. This column uses longitudinal data to argue that 'dinner table human capital' – that is, industry knowledge learned through their parents – is an important factor. This form of capital also has effect on employee performance in the wider labour market.

Marc Piopiunik, Guido Schwerdt, Lisa Simon, Ludger Woessmann, 23 February 2018

Applicants use CVs to signal cognitive and non-cognitive skills to potential employers, but we know little about how effective those signals are. Based on an experiment in which HR managers chose between CVs, this column argues that signals of cognitive skills, social skills, and maturity matter for successful entry into the labour market. The relevant signals depend on gender and entry stage.

Katja Mann, Lukas Püttmann, 07 December 2017

Researchers disagree over whether automation is creating or destroying jobs. This column introduces a new indicator of automation constructed by applying a machine learning algorithm to classify patents, and uses the result to investigate which US regions and industries are most exposed to automation. This indicator suggests that automation has created more jobs in the US than it has destroyed.

Jan Eeckhout, 18 September 2017

Firms and individuals spend a lot of time finding the right fit. In this video, Jan Eeckhout explains the role of uncertainty, and how it could help explain the increase in wage inequality. This video was recorded at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in November 2015.

Christopher Blattman, Stefan Dercon, 20 December 2016

African countries are scrambling to bring industrial firms into the continent, and workers face a choice between industrial jobs and self-employment. This column reports the results of a randomised controlled trial of 1,000 job applicants in Ethiopia, which suggests that industrial workers earned no more in a year than those given training as entrepreneurs, and had higher disability rates. Two-thirds of industrial workers chose to quit, suggesting that low wages and poor working conditions are a concern for policymakers who promote industrialisation.

, 16 November 2016

The efficient use of inputs is essential to growth. Chang-Tai Hsieh explains why firms are more productive than others by comparing labour laws in India and the US. This video was recorded at the International Growth Centre.

Barbara Petrongolo, 15 August 2016

Immigration was at the heart of the Brexit debate. In this video, Barbara Petrongolo discusses different policies the UK could implement in terms of immigration. This video is part of the “Econ after Brexit” series organised by CEPR and was recorded on 14 July 2016.

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Services are gaining ever more importance in global trade and employment. While there is increasing consensus that the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) represents an inadequate international framework for services trade governance, sound economic policy prescriptions to support ongoing multilateral negotiations remain scarce.

Meanwhile, recent and forthcoming preferential trade agreements like CETA, TiSA, TPP and TTIP are filling the void, with yet unpredictable and potentially significant effects on labour markets. Given the crucial role of the services sector as the world's largest purveyor of employment, gaining a sounder understanding of the nexus between trade policies, services and labour markets is hence of utmost importance.

To that end, this workshop invites submissions on research in the domain of services trade and its implications for the labour market. We are particularly interested in analyses that substantiate specific policy recommendations.

Joakim Ruist, 28 January 2016

The current inflow of refugees into Europe has left policymakers in disagreement over how to react. A major concern is the perceived financial burden that can result from large intakes. This column discusses the fiscal impact of refugees on the Swedish economy. The current net redistribution from the non-refugee population to refugees (excluding arrivals in 2015) is estimated to be 1.35% of GDP. The economic burden of a generous refugee policy is therefore not particularly heavy, especially if the host country incorporates them as quickly as possible into the labour market.

Patrick Arni, Rafael Lalive, Gerard Van den Berg, 11 January 2016

The standard empirical evaluations of labour market policy only consider the direct effects of single programmes on their participants. This column argues that this fails to capture important aspects of real-world labour market policy – policy regimes and strategies. Using Swiss data, it employs a novel empirical approach that concurrently examines the effects of supportive and punitive policies (‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’). Policy regimes are shown to exert economically relevant effects, and accounting for these effects is crucial when designing labour market policy.

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