Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

June 18, 2019

#19.21 Skill Mismatch and Skill Transferability: Review of Concepts and Measurements

Filed under: 2019 — Tags: , , , , — T.Broekel @ 1:42 pm

Ljubica Nedelkoska & Frank Neffke

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Abstract: The notion of skills plays an increasingly important role in a variety of research fields. Since the foundational work on human capital theory, economists have approached skills through the lens of education, training and work experience, whereas early work in evolutionary economics and management stressed the analogy between skills of individuals and the organizational routines of firms. We survey how the concept of skills has evolved into notions such as skills mismatch, skill transferability and skill distance or skill relatedness in labor economics, management, and evolutionary approaches to economics and economic geography. We find that these disciplines converged in embracing increasingly sophisticated approaches to measuring skills. Economists have expanded their approach from quantifying skills in terms of years of education to measuring them more directly, using skill tests, self-reported skills and job tasks, or skills and job tasks reported by occupational experts. Others have turned to administrative and other large-scale data sets to infer skill similarities and complementarities from the careers of sometimes millions of workers. Finally, a growing literature on team human capital and skill complementarities has started thinking of skills as features of collectives, instead of only of individuals. At the same time, scholars in corporate strategy have studied the micro-determinants of team formation. Combined, the developments in both strands of research may pave the way to an understanding of how individual-level skills connect to firm-level routines.

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August 14, 2018

# 18.32 Ageing labour: How does demographic change affect regional human capital?

Filed under: 2018 — Tags: , , , — T.Broekel @ 1:46 pm

Paula Prenzel & Simona Iammarino

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Abstract: Human capital investments are frequently suggested as policy measure to cope with smaller and older labour forces caused by demographic change across Europe. However, the availability and composition of human capital is fundamentally intertwined with demographic structures, especially at a regional level. This paper analyses how ageing is related to the regional composition of human capital for 332 German regions between 1996 and 2010. The findings show that labour force ageing is associated with lower educational attainment, and that older labour forces have higher shares of traditional vocational degrees. On a national level, education expansion still sufficiently compensates for the effects of population ageing, but regional human capital composition shows distinct trends.

August 29, 2016

# 16.25 Risk-taking, skill diversity, and the quality of human capital: how insurance affects innovation

Filed under: 2016 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 7:24 pm

Andrea Filippetti, Frederick Guy

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We argue that human capital does a better job of fostering innovation when an economy has a diverse portfolio of specialist skills to draw on. While such a diverse portfolio is beneficial for a country, it includes many individual skill packages that are subject to considerable labour market risk. In the absence of strong income insurance (job security or unemployment insurance), the flight to safety in human capital investments will produce a national skill portfolio which is poorly diversified and less conducive to innovation.
Using country-level data for 25 OECD countries from 1985 to 2009, we find evidence that income insurance raises the marginal effect of human capital on innovation, with the latter measured by patenting. At the same time, we find a direct negative effect of insurance on patenting; at low-medium levels of human capital, the direct negative effect more than offsets the positive indirect effect, while at high levels of human capital the indirect positive effect dominates. We draw implications for income insurance and education policy.

September 8, 2015

# 15.30 Relatedness through experience: On the importance of collected worker experiences for plant performance

Filed under: 2015 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 3:46 pm

Lisa Östbring, Rikard Eriksson, Urban Lindgren

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The present article aims to show that multiple cognitive dimensions exist between employees in plants and that these multiple forms of potential cognitive relatedness interact in their influence on learning and plant performance. Because the success of a firm has come to be strongly associated with its ability to use the available resources (Penrose 1959), it has become increasingly important for firms to have just the right mix of competences. In the article, the knowledge and cognitive distance between employees in knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) is measured in multiple ways – as formal knowledge, industry experience and past knowledge exposure. The different forms of cognitive distance are entered into pooled OLS regressions with year-, industry-, region-fixed effects and interaction terms to estimate the effects of various forms of cognition on plant performance. The results suggest that past knowledge experiences and formal education offer multiple channels for knowledge integration at the workplace and that the specific labor force knowledge characteristics present at a plant condition learning. It has been further shown that the organizational structure and flexibility associated with single-plant and multi-plant firms, respectively, generate different plant performance outcomes of knowledge variety. Moreover, we conclude that the commonly found negative effects of similarity in formal education on plant performance may be reduced by high levels of similarity in historical knowledge exposure or industry experience. These effects are stronger in multi-plant firms than in single-plant firms. We also find that high levels of human capital exert a reducing influence on the negative effects of high levels of cognitive similarity.

April 8, 2010

#10.05 Seeds of regional structural change. The role of entrepreneurs and expanding firms in shaping local path dependencies

Filed under: 2010 — Tags: , , , , — T.Broekel @ 12:51 pm

Frank Neffke, Matté Hartog, Ron Boschma and Martin Henning

PDF (This is the updated 2014 version of the paper)

Who introduces structural change in regional economies: Entrepreneurs or existing firms? And do local or non-local firms and entrepreneurs create most novelty in a region? Using matched employer-employee data for the whole Swedish workforce, we determine how unrelated and therefore how novel the activities of different establishments are to a region’s industry mix. Up- and downsizing establishments cause large shifts in the local industry structure, but these shifts only occasionally require an expansion of local capabilities because the new activities are often related to existing local activities. Indeed, these incumbents tend to align their production with the local economy, deepening the region’s specialization. In contrast, structural change mostly originates via new establishments, especially those with non-local roots. Moreover, although entrepreneurs start businesses more often in activities unrelated to the existing regional economy, new establishments founded by existing firms survive in such activities more often, inducing longer-lasting changes in the region.

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