Resilient Men of Prime Working Age

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 12.11.2019, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Alexandra Spitz-Oener (Humboldt University Berlin)


Robotics technology has advanced rapidly since the 1990s, sparking interest in how automation and artificial intelligence (AI) more generally affect work. It is clear that the nature of work is rapidly transforming and demands are placed on the labor force to adapt expeditiously. Against that backdrop, this study offers new evidence on what constitutes a ‘resilient’ worker. We use administrative, individual-level panel data for West Germany from 1990 to 2005 to examine how workers have navigated the labor market in recent decades. To frame our empirical analysis, we construct a simple model of workers’ decisions in the face of changing task content of production. We find that workers alter their on-thejob tasks and also use occupational mobility to adjust to those changing demands. Workers’ resilience depends on past investments in both general human capital and task-specific human capital.

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