Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 221: What You Do, Not Who You Work For – a comparison of the occupational industry structures of the United States, Canada and Sweden

Karen King , Charlotta Mellander () and Kevin Stolarick
Additional contact information
Karen King: Martin Prosperity Institute
Charlotta Mellander: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Kevin Stolarick: Martin Prosperity Institute

Abstract: While there has been increased interest in the role of occupations, little has been done from a methodological and empirical approach to find out exactly how occupational analysis plays out on the ground in real places and how the study of the relationships among occupations across industries can further illuminate national and regional economic performance. This descriptive research enhances the understanding of the relationships among industries and occupations. These relationships are analyzed and compared at both national (United States, Canada, Sweden) and sample regional (Boston, Toronto, Stockholm) levels. We uncovered significant differences in occupation mix between North American and Swedish industries. While the United States and Canada rely more heavily on service class occupations, which typically pay much lower wages, Sweden has transformed its reliance on low-wage service workers by increasing its creative employment across the entire economy (knowledge, service, and goods producing industry sectors). However, this transition has resulted in a much smaller knowledge industry than is found in both the United States and Canada, which could mean that Sweden has optimized for the short-term but with long-term consequences.

Keywords: Occupations; Industries; Education; Industrial Structure

JEL-codes: J10; L00; O10; O50; R10

41 pages, February 11, 2010

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