Using administrative panel data on the entire Danish population we document a new set of facts characterizing occupational mobility. For most occupations, mobility is U-shaped and directional: not only low but also high wage earners within an occupation have a particularly large probability of leaving their occupation, and the low (high) earners tend to switch to new occupations with lower (higher) average wages. Exceptions to this pattern of two-sided selection are occupations with steeply rising (declining) productivity, where mainly the lower (higher) paid workers within this occupation tend to leave. The facts conflict with several existing theories that are used to account for endogeneity in occupational choice, but it is shown analytically that the patterns are explained consistently within a theory of vertical sorting under absolute advantage that includes learning about workers’ abilities.
The U-Shapes of Occupational Mobility
Occupational mobility is highest for high and low earners, and the former move “up” and the latter “down” as in models of vertical re-sorting.
Economic Journal, forthcoming. With Ericson, Spinnewijn &, Starc Demand for insurance can be driven by high risk aversion or high risk, and we show how to separate the two using observed market shares. Go to paper
Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2008/123(2), pp. 621-661. With A. Postlewaite. [technical appendix] In a model of social learning, the better informed (wealthier) consumers get preferential service because their consumption signals high quality to others. Go to paper
International Economic Review, 2011, 52(1), pp 85-104. With M. Galenianos and G. Virag. [technical appendix] In directed search with a finite population, minimum wages improve employment but reduce output and efficiency, and reverse for unemployment benefits. Go to paper
American Economic Review, 2015, Vol 105 (10), 3030-3060. With Leo Kaas. We propose a tractable competitive search model with heterogeneous multi-worker firms, and investigate firm growth and business cycles. Go to paper
Econometrica. 2018 86(1): 85-132. With Jan Eeckhout. When heterogeneous firms can choose both how many and which workers to hire, we illustrate consequences for firm-size and wage inequality. Note a correction for the condition with capital: corrigendum. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2019 86(4): 1411-1447. With Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. We develop and evaluate experimentally a novel tool that redesigns the job search process by providing tailored online advice about related occupations. Go to paper