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Friday 17th July, 11:00 - 12:30 Room: O-106

Occupations and survey research: methodological and substantive applications exploiting occupations as social contexts 2

Convenor Professor Christian Ebner (University of Cologne, Germany )
Coordinator 1Dr Daniela Rohrbach-schmidt (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Bonn, Germany)

Session Details

The individual’s occupation belongs to the most frequently surveyed and most used background variables in social surveys. Occupational codes are regularly used as nominal units within fixed-effects approaches (economics), or they are recoded into different status measures or class schemes (sociology). More recent approaches describe occupations as “microclass” categories, which shape individual behavior and attitudes (e.g. Weeden/Grusky 2005). This view is also interesting from a methodological view, as it understands occupations as a contextual unit, in which individuals are nested and socialized.

Following this approach our session focuses on occupations as a higher-level unit of analysis in multi-level designs. The session is a good opportunity to reflect on:
- How the relevance of occupations as a social context can be justified / what are valuable concepts to understand and systemize the occupational level?
- How occupational characteristics (e.g. regulations, skill / job task requirements) help to explain social phenomena at the individual level?

Methodological papers might address issues related to multi-level techniques (hierarchical, non-hierarchical, cross-classified), levels of occupational aggregation and data linkage, (inter)national occupational classifications, and the comparability of results between regions or countries. Substantive papers might cover the usefulness of the occupational context for the understanding of e.g. attitudes and lifestyles, labor market outcomes or well-being. In particular, we are interested in the theoretical and empirical mechanisms (e.g. social closure (ibid.), technological change (Autor/Handel 2013)), which lead to the described outcomes at the individual level.

Autor, David; Handel, Michael (2013). Putting Tasks to the Test: Human Capital, Job Tasks, and Wages. Journal of Labor Economics 31(2): S59-S96.
Weeden, Kim; Grusky, David (2005). The Case for a New Class Map. American Journal of Sociology 111(1): 141-212.

Paper Details

1. The estimation of occupation specific wage growth when (a lot of) employees change their occupation
Dr Andreas Haupt (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie)

Scholars might be interested in differences of occupation specific wage growth and want thus want to estimate a multi level growth model. But if employees change their occupation, multi level growth models are problematic because the relation of occupations and employees are not strictly hierarchical any more. It is analytically well known that cross classified models are the better choice. But there are no valid simulation studies showing the extend of the problem. Within the talk I will present results of Monte-Carlo-Studies which show how big the problem really is given more or less movement between occupations.

2. Labor market segmentation and monetary returns to further training in Germany
Mr Martin Ehlert (WZB Berlin Social Science Center)

Previous research on wage growth after further education and training yielded mixed results. I argue that these unclear findings result from the neglect of labor market segmentation. This follows from the notion that the mechanisms that link education and wages differ between occupations and industries. In this paper I therefore compare the returns to further training after initial education between different segments of the labor market. I use the NEPS-SC-6 data, a panel study of working-age Germans. Individual level effects obtained through conditional difference-in-difference estimation are compared between occupations and industries using multilevel-methods.

3. Do general competencies predict wages in occupations with complex tasks in Germany?
Mrs Stefanie Velten (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Germany)
Professor Christian Ebner (University of Cologne, Germany)

According to the OECD, literacy and numeracy play a crucial role for the participation in economic life. Research demonstrated that these skills add variance to the prediction of wages. We extend the research by studying whether these competencies have differential effects on wages depending on people’s occupation defined by a subset of tasks. We expect competencies to have stronger effects on wages for occupations with complex tasks. Using German PIAAC and BIBB/BAuA data sets we expand the classical Mincer-Regression adding numeracy, tasks and their interactions to predict earnings. Results reveal small interaction effects, not fully supporting hypotheses.

4. Job tasks, job change and wages in Germany
Dr Daniela Rohrbach-schmidt (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB))

The paper provides an effort to study job changes and their wage consequences in Germany by considering task content and its change at the worker level. Using recent data that provide information on the time spent on job tasks before and after individuals have changed their jobs, we find the following: First, job tasks differ among workers within an occupation and this variation is significantly related to workers socio-demographic characteristics and their human capital, second, individuals move into jobs that require similar task content and, third, job task requirements and task-specific human capital play an important role for