The Skill-Specific Impact of Past and Projected Occupational Decline

54 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Lena Hensvik

Lena Hensvik

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Oskar Nordstrom Skans

Uppsala University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Using population-wide Swedish register data on cognitive abilities and productive personality traits, we show that employment growth has been monotonically skill-biased in terms of these general-purpose intellectual skills, despite a simultaneous (polarizing) decline in middle-wage jobs. Employees in declining mid-wage occupations have comparably little of these general intellectual skills. Conversely, growing low-wage occupations are more (intellectually) skill-intensive than other low-wage jobs. Employment has primarily increased in occupations where workers are endowed with verbal and technical abilities, and social maturity. Existing occupational projections imply that the relationship between employment growth and skills in the projected future will resemble the past.

Keywords: skills, polarization, future of work

JEL Classification: J21, J31

Suggested Citation

Hensvik, Lena and Nordström Skans, Oskar, The Skill-Specific Impact of Past and Projected Occupational Decline. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12931, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3534479

Lena Hensvik (Contact Author)

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden

Oskar Nordström Skans

Uppsala University ( email )

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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