Career Progression, Economic Downturns, and Skills

62 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2013

See all articles by Jerome Adda

Jerome Adda

University College London - Department of Economics; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Christian Dustmann

University College London; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Costas Meghir

Yale University; Yale University - Cowles Foundation; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jean-Marc Robin

École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Laboratoire d'Economie Theorique et Appliquee (LEA); National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST); French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: February 2013

Abstract

This paper analyzes the career progression of skilled and unskilled workers, with a focus on how careers are affected by economic downturns and whether formal skills, acquired early on, can shield workers from the effect of recessions. Using detailed administrative data for Germany for numerous birth cohorts across different regions, we follow workers from labor market entry onwards and estimate a dynamic life-cycle model of vocational training choice, labor supply, and wage progression. Most particularly, our model allows for labor market frictions that vary by skill group and over the business cycle. We find that sources of wage growth differ: learning-by-doing is an important component for unskilled workers early on in their careers, while job mobility is important for workers who acquire skills in an apprenticeship scheme before labor market entry. Likewise, economic downturns affect skill groups through very different channels: unskilled workers lose out from a decline in productivity and human capital, whereas skilled individuals suffer mainly from a lack of mobility.

Suggested Citation

Adda, Jerome and Dustmann, Christian and Meghir, Costas and Robin, Jean-Marc, Career Progression, Economic Downturns, and Skills (February 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w18832, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2222519

Jerome Adda (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Christian Dustmann

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5832 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Costas Meghir

Yale University ( email )

37 Hillhouse avenue
New Haven, CT CT 06511
United States
+12034323558 (Phone)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Jean-Marc Robin

École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Laboratoire d'Economie Theorique et Appliquee (LEA) ( email )

48 boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France
+33 1 4313 6365 (Phone)
+33 1 4313 6362 (Fax)

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)

147, rue de l'Universite
Paris Cedex 07, 78-Yvelines 75338
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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