Employment in traditional middle-class jobs has fallen sharply over the last few decades. At the same time, middle-class wages have been stagnant. This column reviews recent research on job polarisation and presents a new study that explicitly links job polarisation with the changes in workers' wages. Job polarisation has a substantial negative effect on middle-skill workers.
Michael Boehm, Saturday, February 8, 2014
Leonardo Iacovone, Vijaya Ramachandran, Friday, February 7, 2014
There is an urgent need for job creation in Africa yet something seems to be stunting firm growth. This column shows that African firms are about 20% smaller than their counterparts in other locations. It suggests small firms put the brake on growth as the burden of dealing with government and labour costs may increase with size, or perhaps as they start facing trust issues between managers and workers.
Francis Kramarz, Oskar Nordström Skans, Thursday, October 17, 2013
Modest recoveries in employment following the crisis mask severe youth unemployment. Because labour market struggles during the early stages of working life can have persistent negative effects, understanding job-finding networks among youth is key to forming pro-employment policies. This column analyses the transition from schooling to working life of Swedish youth. Close familial ties are important in job searches, especially among the less educated. Preliminary evidence suggests that family association can signal worker ability.
Nicolas Lepage-Saucier, Juliette Schleich, Étienne Wasmer, Monday, July 29, 2013
In hard times, firms tend to offer precarious temporary contracts rather than safer, long-term contracts. In light of this, this column looks at reforming employment protection. Overall, the debate amongst economists focuses far too much on the convergence of these two types of contracts. Policymakers would do well to begin looking at other, more attractive and more implementable options.
Almut Balleer, Britta Gehrke, Wolfgang Lechthaler, Christian Merkl, Friday, July 12, 2013
During the Great Recession, 25 of 33 OECD countries have used some version of short-time work, a form of publicly subsidised working-time reductions. This column argues that despite its popularity, knowledge of the macroeconomic effects of this measure is limited. Using Germany as a case study, it’s clear that the existence of a short-time work system stabilises the economy and reduces job losses by roughly 20% during a recession. However, short-time work is a lot less effective for Anglo-Saxon labour markets.
Alfonso Arpaia, Alessandro Turrini, Saturday, March 2, 2013
Is policy-related uncertainty at the root of lacklustre Eurozone job creation? This column presents evidence that is consistent with this idea. The main implications for policy are straightforward: credible solutions to the Eurozone debt crisis will alleviate the critical unemployment situation of a number of Eurozone countries. How? Not only by helping to kick start investment and production, but also by an additional, direct boost to job creation that is linked to confidence.
Marco Annunziata, Friday, December 7, 2012
Today’s technological innovation is regarded by many as all about social media and entertainment, with no impact on economic growth. This column argues that such scepticism is premature. A closer look at selected industries suggests that the ‘industrial internet‘ – a network that binds together intelligent machines, software analytics and people – through accelerated adoption of sensors and software analytics, will have a powerful impact on productivity and growth.
Henry Siu, Nir Jaimovich, Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The US economy is recovering. But what explains the stubborn malaise in its labour market? This column argues that future recovery from recession will likely be jobless because technological advances and mechanisation now enable troubled firms to shed middle-income jobs in favour of machines and automation. If these jobs are not recouped during subsequent economic recovery, future recoveries may well remain jobless.
Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, Saturday, October 13, 2012
Youth unemployment in the Eurozone looks like a social and economic disaster in the making – 30%, 40%, even 50% of young people sitting on their hands instead of building skills and experience. This column argues the headline numbers are misleading. While youth unemployment is a serious problem, a large share of EZ youth are not in the labour force, so the headline figures overstate the labour-market ‘scar tissue’ that will be left over from the crisis.
Benedict Clements, Ruud de Mooij, Gerd Schwartz, Sunday, September 9, 2012
Many advanced country governments face the dual challenge of promoting job growth while pushing ahead with spending cuts. This column discusses how well-designed fiscal policy reforms can help boost employment without busting the government budget.
Hermann Gartner, Christian Merkl, Thomas Rothe, Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The upside to a rigid labour market, so the argument goes, is that the downside isn’t so bad. This column compares evidence from the job markets in Germany and the US. It argues that Germany is actually far more volatile.
Alan Manning, Barbara Petrongolo, Friday, August 3, 2012
Will the London Olympics provide a major boost for employment in Stratford, as promised? This column presents evidence from a study in the UK, which, if applied to the Olympics, suggests that we shouldn’t count on it – many of the jobs will go to other Londoners.
Charles Roxburgh, Richard Dobbs, Jan Mischke, Thursday, May 31, 2012
Are emerging markets a threat to jobs and competitiveness for the industrialised countries? This column argues that such concerns are often based on myths. Armed with the facts, policymakers in mature economies should focus on the opportunities emerging markets present rather than viewing them as a threat.
David Hummels, Rasmus Jørgensen, Jakob R. Munch, Chong Xiang , Saturday, December 10, 2011
With stagnating wages and lingering unemployment, income inequality is back in the headlines. Is globalisation to blame for this inequality? Is more education a solution? This column argues that focusing on university education misses important effects. It presents evidence that wage effects vary markedly among those with degrees depending on their specific skill sets, and that globalisation can often benefit workers without degrees
Pravin Krishna, Jennifer P. Poole, Mine Zeynap Senses, Wednesday, December 7, 2011
What are the effects of globalisation on wages and jobs in international and domestic firms? This column finds that data on employers and employees in Brazil tell a more nuanced story than the typical findings from firm-level data.
Erik Hurst, Loukas Karabarbounis, Mark Aguiar, Wednesday, August 17, 2011
When jobs are scarce, what else is there to do? This column looks at data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and finds that roughly 30% to 40% of time not spent working is put towards increased “home” production, 30% of time is allocated to increased sleep time and increased television watching, while other leisure activities make up a further 20% of the foregone market work hours.
Alfonso Rosolia, Federico Cingano, Sunday, July 17, 2011
If you lose your job, can you find a new one with a little help from your friends? This column presents evidence that displaced Italian workers with more employable friends and social contacts are unemployed for a shorter period of time.
Nicholas Bloom, Mirko Draca, John Van Reenen, Thursday, February 3, 2011
Chinese exports are often blamed for job losses and firm closures in developed economies. This column tracks the performance of more than half a million manufacturing firms in 12 European countries over the past decade. It finds that competition with Chinese exports is directly responsible for around 15% of technical change and an annual benefit of almost €10 billion in these countries – the wider productivity effects may well be larger.
Timothy J Hatton, Thursday, September 9, 2010
The recent recession that followed the global crisis has often been compared with the Great Depression. This column argues that an important but neglected lesson from that period is that policymakers should be firmly focused on fostering labour market flexibility and maintaining the employability of those out of work, rather than on short fixes that actually cause unemployment to persist.
Alan S. Blinder, Friday, October 9, 2009
Fear of offshoring may force its way back onto policy agendas soon. This column uses a survey of individual workers to measure the offshorability of particular jobs and says that about 25% of US jobs are offshorable. Surprisingly, routine tasks are not more offshorable but those held by more educated workers are.