Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1089: Global Engagement, Complex Tasks, and the Distribution of Occupational Employment

Carl Davidson , Fredrik Heyman (), Steven Matusz (), Fredrik Sjöholm () and Susan Chun Zhu ()
Additional contact information
Carl Davidson: Michigan State University
Fredrik Heyman: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
Steven Matusz: GEP, University of Nottingham
Fredrik Sjöholm: Lund University, Postal: and Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
Susan Chun Zhu: Michigan State University

Abstract: Building on a framework introduced by Chaney and Ossa (2013), we construct a task-based model of the firm’s choice of occupational inputs to examine how that choice varies with greater global engagement. We depart from Chaney and Ossa by assuming that more complex tasks are more costly to complete. Within the structure of our model, firms skew employment toward occupations engaged in more complex tasks. Moreover, the distribution of employment is more skewed for more globalized firms, while it is less skewed for larger firms. These results are consistent with our empirical findings in Davidson, et al (2015).

Keywords: Occupational mix; Globalization; Firms; Tasks; Employment

JEL-codes: F10; F16; F66; L22

34 pages, October 13, 2015

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