Segmented Labour Markets and SBTC: Evidence from an Occupational Skill Classification

NIW Diskussionspapier Nr.1

Cordes Alexander

Hannover, Dezember 2007

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Recent literature related to skill-biased technological change (SBTC) emphasises tasks as a measure for the structural change of qualifications in the last decades (Autor et al., 2003; Spitz-Oener, 2006; Goos & Manning, 2007). However, for monitoring purposes tasks are a hardly applicable measure. In contrast, using formal education suffers from several supply side effects ? especially cohort effects ? or lacking differentiation. The task concept by Autor, Levy and Murnane (ALM, 2003), though, implicates more differentiated affection of mid- and unskilled workers by technological and organisational change than suggested by usual measures like the vocational education, necessitating alternative approaches which draw on theory on the one hand and are applicable for monitoring and policy purposes on the other. We suggest a compromise by using occupations. Our theoretical framework also considers segmentation theory in order to relate to institutional impacts of the prevailing education system like training adverse mobility patterns. The main focus here is on the role of the German Dual System of Vocational Education (DSVE) by constituting its own labour market segment(s). We hypothesise about the emphasis of formal abilities in contrast to the more ambivalent workplace requirements induced by the changing work environment. Additionally, there might be quasi-institutional impediments for vocational further training due to high inter-firm/withinoccupation mobility of Dual System graduates. We also trace secondary segment formation.