Speaking the same language: A machine learning approach to classify skills in Burning Glass Technologies data

This report presents a methodology to classify skill requirements in online job postings into a pre-existing expert-driven taxonomy of broader skill categories. The proposed approach uses a semi-supervised Machine Learning algorithm and relies on the actual meaning and definition of the skills. It allows for the classification of more than 17 000 unique skill keywords contained in the Burning Glass dataset into 61 categories. The outcome of the classification exercise is validated using O*NET information on skills by occupations, and by benchmarking the results of some empirical descriptive exercises against the existing literature. Compared to a manual classification, the proposed approach ..

Labour Economics

Is performance affected by the CEO-Employee pay gap? Evidence from Australia

It is argued that pay inequality between CEOs and employees impacts employee performance, although empirical studies are inconsistent about the directionality of the effect. This paper shows that seemingly contradictory predictions of sociological and economic perspectives about the impact of pay inequality are more complementary than contradictory. Using data from a sample of public companies over the period 2004-2019, we show that pay inequality attributed to individuals’ skills, company characteristics, and labour market is positively associated with employee performance. However, this positive impact on employee performance declines at high levels of pay disparity. In addition, pa..

Labour Economics

Fostering innovation in Iceland for the digital era

Iceland is an innovative country, but has untapped innovation potential. Strengthening innovation, especially in the ICT area, is crucial for strong productivity growth and performance in an increasingly digitalised world, as well as a sustained recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring more effective public support for business R&D is important. The R&D tax incentive scheme is generous by international comparison, but take-up has been low and many smaller firms have not been inclined to innovate. Following increased support, outcomes need to be monitored regularly. Adopting new technologies is also essential for stronger innovation outcomes. Competition-friendly framework conditions are..

Labour Economics

From hibernation to reallocation: Loan guarantees and their implications for post-COVID-19 productivity

The paper analyses the role of loan guarantee programmes following the COVID-19 outbreak in alleviating firm distress as well as their broader impacts on productivity via reallocation, relying on a simulation model and econometric estimations. The simulation exercise relies on a simple cash-flow accounting model, a large dataset reporting balance sheets of firms located in 14 countries and granular data on the magnitude of the COVID-19 shock. Our findings suggest that i) the COVID-19 shock had the potential to seriously distort market selection; and ii) policy actions corrected up to 30% of the inefficiency of market selection in the short-term, shielding many high productive firms from dist..

Labour Economics

The Effectiveness of Committee Quotas; The Role of Group Dynamics

Committee quotas have been introduced during the last years for combatting the underrepresentation of women in male-stereotyped environments. However, the unclear effect of evaluators’ gender and the gender differences in group dynamics in mixed-gender committees question the effectiveness of the policy. I provide experimental evidence in both directions; a) how the gender composition of the committees affects the probability of female candidates of being recruited in a hiring process, and b) how men and women behave in group dynamics as a mechanism explaining the outcome of the policy. I designed a laboratory experiment in which groups of three subjects have to jointly select two candidat..

Labour Economics

Optimal Redistribution in the Presence of Signaling

We analyze optimal redistribution in the presence of labor market signaling where innate productive ability is not only unobserved by the government, but also by prospective employers. Our model features signaling in both one and two dimensions, where in the latter case firms have an informational advantage vis-a-vis the government. Focusing on signals in the context of educational attainment, we analyze the dual role of income taxation in redistributing income and affecting signaling incentives as well as the role of extended tax systems that combine income taxation with direct taxes on the signals in the form of education taxes/subsidies. We demonstrate how the government can achieve redis..

Labour Economics

Do workers share in firm success? Pass-through estimates for New Zealand

We study the extent to which firm financial performance is passed on to workers in the form of higher wages and the degree to which this pass-through has changed over the period 2002-2018. We use both value added per worker and a measure of quasi-rents as measures of financial performance. Value added per worker is the standard measure used internationally. Quasi-rents better approximate the resources available to be shared between workers and firms as it takes into account the rental cost of capital as well as the reservation wages of workers. We estimate the reservation wage bill for each firm using estimates from a two-way fixed-effect model. We estimate models similar to those typically ..

Labour Economics

Reference Points and the Tradeoff between Risk and Incentives

We conduct laboratory experiments to investigate basic predictions of principal-agent theory about the choice of piece rate contracts in the presence of output risk, and provide novel insights that reference dependent preferences affect the tradeoff between risk and incentives. Subjects in our experiments choose their compensation for performing a real-effort task from a menu of linear piece rate and fixed payment combinations. As classical principal-agent models predict, more risk averse individuals choose lower piece rates. However, in contrast to those predictions, we find that low-productivity risk averse workers choose higher piece rates when the riskiness of the environment increases. ..

Labour Economics

Dynamics of Managerial Power and CEO Compensation in the Course of Corporate Distress: Evidence from 1992 to 2019

We study the dynamics of two governance constructs, managerial influence over the board of directors and chief executive officer (CEO) compensation, in firms undergoing distress during 1992-2019. Data show a clear trend that governance improves over time, which confounds the inference about the effects of distress on governance. Controlling for the secular changes with a bias-corrected matching estimator, we find that distressed firms reduce managerial board appointments and CEO pay, intensify managerial incentive alignment, and increase CEO turnover. The bulk of CEO compensation changes in distressed firms derives from the performance-related part of compensation, consistent with the "share..

Labour Economics

EU Employment Dynamics: The Pandemic Years and Beyond

The economic shock induced by the pandemic has plunged European economies into a recession. Lockdowns and social distancing measures have affected economic life in a substantial way, with industries and population groups facing varying difficulties. This study explores potential future employment dynamics across European industries and employment groups for the period up to 2026 by drawing on past sectoral trends and the latest macroeconomic forecast results from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission. A scenario analysis is also carried out, taking into account the great uncertainty and risks that are related to the baseline forecasts.

Labour Economics

Formalized Employee Search and Labor Demand

Firms often use social networks to find workers, limiting the pool of potential applicants. We conduct a field experiment subsidizing firms' formal vacancy posting. The subsidies increase non-network employee search and shift vacancies towards high-skilled positions. Post-treatment, firms continue searching for high-skilled workers despite reverting to network-based search. This change in skill requirements does not increase vacancy posting or hiring, suggesting substitutability between workers of different skill levels. Finally, we experimentally show that information asymmetries about applicants' skills do not limit firms' formal search. Our results highlight that exposure to different lab..

Labour Economics

Reference Points and the Tradeoff between Risk and Incentives

We conduct laboratory experiments to investigate basic predictions of principal-agent theory about the choice of piece rate contracts in the presence of output risk, and provide novel insights that reference dependent preferences affect the tradeoff between risk and incentives. Subjects in our experiments choose their compensation for performing a real-effort task from a menu of linear piece rate and fixed payment combinations. As classical principal-agent models predict, more risk averse individuals choose lower piece rates. However, in contrast to those predictions, we find that low-productivity risk averse workers choose higher piece rates when the riskiness of the environment increases. ..

Labour Economics

Exploring the labor market consequences of psychiatric disorders: An event study approach

Vast literature documents a negative association between mental disorders and labor market performance but it is challenging to find a research design that could provide an reliable estimate for an effect. This paper provides new evidence on the immediate labor market consequences following the first psychiatric admission using the event study framework. To reduce selection bias, I exploit variation in the timing of the first psychiatric admission to estimate the effect of the first psychiatric treatment on labor market performance. Using Finnish administrative data, I find that the first psychiatric admission leads to loss in earned income of about €1700 (10%). However, but to a large ext..

Labour Economics

The roles of diversity, complexity, and relatedness in regional development – What does the occupational perspective add?

Contemporary research highlights the importance of relatedness, diversity, and complexity for regional economic development. However, few empirical studies simultaneously test the relevance of all these dimensions or examine how their importance varies across distinct spatial contexts. The literature also concentrates on explaining regional diversification, whereas we know less about how they affect economic and employment growth. In addition, most studies have examined industrial relatedness at the expense of the at least similarly crucial occupational dimension when studying knowledge-based regional development. The chapter discusses these issues and presents a study on how occupational di..

Labour Economics

Early Socialization and the Gender Wage Gap

We study the impact of early socialization on gender inequality in the labor market. To this end, we link the gender environment in the primary-school cohort to later occupations and wages. We find that women exposed to more girls at this critical age earn more later on, leading to a reduction in the gender wage gap. We explore mechanisms and find that women exposed to a more female-dominated environment select into less gender-stereotypical occupations with higher wage potential. The gender environment at an early age, therefore, shapes career trajectories and lifetime earnings.

Labour Economics

Wage Effects of Educational Mismatch According to Workers’ Origin: The Role of Demographics and Firm Characteristics

This paper examines the influence of educational mismatch on wages according to workers’ region of birth, taking advantage of our access to rich matched employer-employee data for the Belgian private sector for the period 1999-2010. Using a fine-grained approach to measuring educational mismatch and controlling for a large set of covariates, we first find that workers born in developed countries benefit from positive wage returns to their years of attained-, required and over-education, and that these returns are significantly higher for them than for their peers born in developing countries. Second, our results show that the wage return to a year of over-education is positive but lower th..

Labour Economics

The Impact of Juvenile Conviction on Human Capital and Labor Market Outcomes

This article documents the long-term relationship among juvenile conviction, occupation choices, employment, wages, and recidivism. Using data from NLSY97, we document that youths who are convicted at or before age 17 have lower full-time employment rate and lower wage growth rate even after 10 years into the labor market. Merging the NSLY97 with occupational characteristics data from O*NET, we show that youths with a juvenile conviction are less likely to be employed in occupations that have a higher on-the-job (OTJ) training requirement and these high OTJ occupations have higher wage and wage growth. The accumulated occupation-specific work experience, general experience, and education are..

Labour Economics

Productivity-wage nexus at the firm-level in Portugal: Decoupling and divergences

There is a growing international concern about the slowdown in productivity growth, especially as labor productivity enhancements are important drivers of higher general-ised living standards.Using administrative data of firms in Portugal between 2010 and 2016, we analyse the relationships between productivity and wages. At odds with neoclassical theory of mar-ginal productivity of labor, we find that two thirds of firms insufficiently raised wages giv-en observed productivity growth. Employing unconditional quantile regressions, we in-vestigate some quantifiable determinants of the productivity-wage gap at different parts of the distributions. Most of the documented dynamics contributed not..

Labour Economics

Macroeconomic dynamics and the role of market power. The case of Italy

In recent years, the US and other advanced countries have experienced macroeconomic dynamics which raise some concerns and which, according to the literature, are at least partly attributable to a rise in product market power. This study mainly aims to understand how Italy performs in terms of five relevant economic variables (i.e., domestic investment rate, labour share, labour force participation, wage inequality and economic dynamism), and whether firms’ markups are on the rise. The picture that emerges is mixed, and the negative performance in terms of business dynamism and wage dispersion may be ascribable to an increase in product market power. The firm-level analysis of the Italian ..

Labour Economics

Minimum wages and the China Syndrome: Causal evidence from US local labor markets

Exposure to Chinese import competition led to significant manufacturing job losses in the United States. Local labor markets, however, differ significantly in how they fared with respect to manufacturing employment. An important question is whether labor market institutions have an impact on the dynamic response of manufacturing employment to rising import penetration. We contribute to this debate by showing that minimum wages amplified the negative effect of Chinese import penetration on manufacturing employment in US local labor markets between 2000 and 2007. We develop a rigorous double-edged identification strategy. First, we construct shift-share instrumental variables to address the en..

Labour Economics

Technological Diffusion and Productivity Convergence across European Regions: A Spatial Approach over the Period 2000-2015

What are the drivers of growth and convergence in productivity at regional level? Differences in the stock of human capital across regions are hypothesized to be the major cause of differences in the speed by which following regions converge and catch-up with the most advanced ones. In addition, we test the role played by R&D expenditures and institutions exploiting a database covering European regions from 1995 to 2015, which includes regional total factor productivity (TFP) computed by the conventional residual approach. We find robust empirical evidence for these hypotheses in terms of both model specifications and sectoral disaggregation.

Labour Economics

Are online platforms killing the offline star? Platform diffusion and the productivity of traditional firms

Online platform use has grown remarkably in the last decade. Despite this, our understanding of its implications for economic outcomes is scarce and often limited to case studies and advanced countries. Using a newly built harmonised international dataset of online platforms and their use across 43 countries, covering the 2013-18 period and seven areas of activity, we contribute to filling this gap. Specifically, we investigate whether and under which market conditions platform uptake leads to changes in incumbent firms’ productivity. We find that platform use increases labour productivity growth in firms operating in the same sector, and that this takes place through increases in value ad..

Labour Economics

Making digital transformation work for all in Chile

The sanitary crisis, created by the outbreak COVID-19, is accelerating Chile’s digital transformation, which has seen a surge in e-learning, streaming, online shopping and marketing and teleworking. The digital transformation has the potential to revamp productivity and inclusiveness, although it comes with adoption barriers and transition costs. Connectivity has increased substantially in the last decades, and the country is ahead of the region. However, fixed high-speed broadband adoption, essential for the digital transformation, lags behind. Firms have started to adopt digital technologies but micro firms and SMEs are well behind. Rural areas have lower connectivity and many workers la..

Labour Economics

Can there be too much information? Heterogeneous responses to information on benefits from language proficiency

Immigrants who have a better command of the host country’s language are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages. Using a survey experiment among international students in Germany, I investigate whether information on the monetary benefits of mastering the language of the host country influences the intention to learn that language. The results show heterogeneous responses conditional on the current level of German language proficiency. The intended participation of international students with high German language skills is not affected, students with medium German language skills are positively affected and those with low or no German language skills are negatively affected. ..

Labour Economics

Revealing the diversity and complexity behind long-term income inequality in Latin America: a new dataset, 1920-2011

The period between 1920 and 1980 is of great importance for the study of inequality in Latin America because of the occurrence of state-led, protected industrialisation amid structural, demographic and institutional transformations. Although there are valuable contributions at the country level, the study of income inequality from a broad regional perspective has been hindered by limitations of comparable metrics. To address this gap a new dataset has been assembled including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela. The approach adopted distinguishes four occupational groups: the top group includes employers, managers and professionals; the remaining three groups are define..

Labour Economics

Education-occupation mismatch in the context of informality and development

Using household data from 15 countries in Latin America and Africa, this paper explores linkages between informality and education-occupation matching. The paper applies a unified methodology to measuring education-occupation mismatches and informality, consistently with the international labour and statistical standards in this area. The results suggest that in the majority of low- and middle-income developing countries with available data, workers in informal jobs have higher odds of being undereducated as compared to workers in formal jobs. Workers in formal jobs, in contrast, have higher chances of being overeducated. These results are consistent for dependent as well as for independent ..

Labour Economics

Do Targeted R&D Grants Towards Potential Highgrowth Firms Increase Employment and Demand for High Human Capital Workers?

Most previous studies on the employment effects of government R&D grants targeting SMEs are characterized by data-, measurement-, and selection problems, making it difficult to construct a relevant control group of firms that did not receive a R&D grant. We investigate the effects on employment and firm-level demand for high human capital workers of two Swedish programs targeted towards growth-oriented SMEs using Coarsened Exact Matching. Our most striking result is the absence of any statistically significant effects. We find no robust evidence that the targeted R&D grant programs had any positive and statistically significant effects on the number of employees recruited into these SMEs, or..

Labour Economics

Sticky wages and the Great Depression: evidence from the United Kingdom

How sticky were wages during the Great Depression? Although classic accounts emphasize the importance of nominal rigidity in amplifying deflationary shocks, the evidence is limited. In this paper, I calculate the degree of nominal wage rigidity in the United Kingdom between the wars using new granular data covering millions of wages. I find that nominal wages were more flexible downwards than in most modern economies, but that the frequency and magnitude of wage cuts were too low to fully offset deflation

Labour Economics

Occupational Licensing and Accountant Quality: Evidence from the 150-Hour Rule

I examine the effects of occupational licensing on the quality of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). I exploit the staggered adoption of the 150-hour rule, which increases the educational requirements for a CPA license. The analysis shows that the rule decreases the number of entrants into the profession, reducing both low- and high-quality candidates. Labor market proxies for quality find no difference between 150-hour rule CPAs and the rest. Moreover, rule CPAs exit public accounting at similar rates and have comparable writing quality to their non-rule counterparts. Overall, these findings are consistent with the theoretical argument that increases in licensing requirements restrict the..

Labour Economics

Striking a bargain: narrative identification of wage bargaining shocks

We quantify the effects of wage bargaining shocks on macroeconomic aggregates using a structural vector auto-regression model for Germany. We identify exogenous variation in bargaining power from episodes of minimum wage introduction and industrial disputes. This narrative information disciplines the impulse responses to a wage bargaining shock of un-employment and output, and sharpens inference on the behaviour of other variables. The implied transmission mechanism is in line with the theoretical predictions of a large class of search and matching models. We also find that wage bargaining shocks explain a sizeable share of aggregate fluctuations in unemployment and inflation, that their..

Labour Economics