David Autor, 02 May 2014

David Autor talks to Viv Davies about his recent research that analyses the differential effects of trade and technology on employment patterns in US local labour markets between 1990 and 2007. While the effect of trade competition is growing over time, the effect of technology has shifted from automation of production activities in the manufacturing sector towards computerisation of information-processing tasks in the service sector. The interview was recorded in April 2014 at the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society.

Pierre Brochu, David Green, 22 January 2014

Economic research finds little evidence in support of the hypothesis that an increase in minimum wages significantly affects employment – either positively or negatively. This column discusses a study of the impact of minimum-wage changes on turnover rates. Minimum-wage increases are associated with a lower probability that a job will end, and with a lower probability that an unemployed person will find work. The former effect is established only for newly hired workers. Increases in the minimum wages are also associated with more stable jobs for all low educated workers. Thus, the trade-off between fewer jobs with higher wages and more job stability versus easier access to jobs should be taken into account in the minimum-wage policy debates.

Bob Butcher, 17 December 2013

The labour market ‘hollowing out’ thesis suggests that there are far fewer intermediate-level jobs and far more low- and high-level jobs than two or three decades ago, primarily due to technological advancement. This column reviews recent research that finds little evidence in support of this conclusion. Though the composition of intermediate-level jobs has changed, their volume has probably not. Policy implications for specific groups of job seekers are discussed.

Bernhard Dachs, Bernd Ebersberger, Steffen Kinkel, Oliver Som, 07 September 2013

European offshoring mostly concerns factory jobs, but some worry that innovation will soon follow. This column shows that offshoring firms employ more people in R&D and design, introduce more frequently new products, and invest more frequently in advanced process technologies compared to non-offshoring firms. Concerns that offshoring may hurt innovation because of the lost links between production and product development are not supported by the evidence.

Luis Garicano, John Van Reenen, 30 May 2013

France has a raft of labour-market regulations that kick in for firms with 50 workers or more. This column uses this threshold to identify the economic effects of size-contingent regulations. Such policies seem to subsidise small firms at the expense of larger firms. But since small firms are on average less productive than large firms, the French economy loses out.

Danielken Molina, Marc Muendler, 27 May 2013

Exporting is essential for economic development. But can firms move from local sales to export sales? How do firms prepare for exporting? This column presents new research showing that worker mobility is an important mechanism by which exporter knowledge spreads through the economy.

Richard Dobbs, Anu Madgavkar, 19 September 2012

Unemployment in the US and UK is over 8% and in many Eurozone countries is far higher. This column argues that we can’t just blame the recession – this is also symptomatic of long-term trends that, without a concerted effort by policymakers, will continue to stunt growth, deepen income inequality, weigh on public budgets, and cause living standards in many countries to stagnate.

Johann Custodis, 18 September 2012

There were 35 million prisoners of war in WWII. This column presents new research on the use of their labour in Nazi Germany, quantifying the economic impact on the Nazi wartime economy.

Federico Etro, 23 December 2011

To some, the world of art and world of economics are diametrically opposed. To others, such as the author of this column, they are part of the same. This column looks at the wages of painters during the 17th century Baroque art movement and asks what insights it can provide for art lovers, economists, and those who consider themselves both.

Sascha O. Becker, Marion Jansen, Marc Muendler, 01 October 2011

As jobs losses continue to haunt the headlines, people are left asking if long-term unemployment is to be one of the so-called benefits from globalisation. This column reports on a conference aimed at understanding how globalisation can be made to work for workers.

Marga Peeters, Loek Groot, 02 August 2011

Fiscal pressure from demographic changes is mounting across the globe. This column asks whether labour markets will create enough jobs. Cross-country comparisons suggest that, until at least 2050, the countries most under pressure will be Poland, Turkey, and Greece.

Patrick Gaulé, 14 December 2010

Brain drain can be a good thing for the source country; one benefit is that some skilled workers eventually return. Unfortunately, there is little evidence on the incidence and nature of such return migration. This column presents new data on the return-migration decisions of foreign faculty based in US chemistry departments.

Federico Etro, 04 November 2010

Looking at the contracts for large oil paintings in Italy (1550-1750), this column finds evidence of strong competition between painters. Contracts were structured to address moral hazard problems, and prices closely reflected demand and supply conditions in an integrated market.

Francesco D'Amuri, Giovanni Peri, 31 October 2010

Several studies find that immigrants do not harm the wages and job prospects of native workers. This column seeks to explain these somewhat counterintuitive findings by emphasizing the scope for complementarities between foreign-born and native workers. Examining 14 European countries from 1996 to 2007, it finds that immigrants often supply manual skills, leaving native workers to take up jobs that require more complex skills – even boosting demand for them. Immigrants replace “tasks”, not workers.

Christopher Cotton, Frank McIntyre, Joseph Price, 21 October 2010

Around the world, the pay and achievement gap between men and women remains significant, as shown by last week’s Global Gender Gap Report. This column explores whether this gap can be explained by attitudes towards competition. Using experimental evidence from math quiz competitions in primary schools, it finds that while males respond better to competition initially, this advantage is short-lived, as females are just as responsive over time.

Goran Mišković, Raphael Auer, Jason Wildhagen, 15 October 2010

Whether you are in academia, government, or private business, the hiring of PhD economists is very different from standard recruiting. This column documents the peculiarities of the job market for junior economists and describes how the job market boards of walras.org and VoxEU.org can be used to disseminate information about job openings and receive online applications.

Barbara Petrongolo, 15 October 2010

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics has been awarded to Peter Diamond, Dale Mortensen, and Christopher Pissarides "for their analysis of markets with search frictions". This column explains how their research relates to fundamental economic issues that are both at the core of the wellbeing of society at large and now near the top of many policymakers’ agendas.

Bas ter Weel, Albert van der Horst, George Gelauff, 11 October 2010

How will we earn our money in 2040? This column develops four scenarios for how the Dutch economy may evolve. It argues that the future depends on the development of technology – the fundamental driver of future economic development. Many of the lessons and analysis apply equally to the rest of Europe.

Leo Abruzzese, 26 September 2010

Women’s economic empowerment has been a defining feature of the last century. Yet while women today comprise more than half of the global workforce, their wages and economic opportunities still lag behind those of men. This column takes a closer look at the economic landscape for women and how it compares across countries, using the Economist Intelligence Unit’s new Women’s Economic Opportunity Index as a guide.

Juan Dolado, 24 September 2010

Juan Dolado of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about why unemployment in Spain has risen so much higher than elsewhere in Europe during the Great Recession. He discusses the pressing need to address the great divide in the Spanish labour market between permanent and temporary employment contracts. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Glasgow in August 2010.

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