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Author: Kim, Sun Hyung
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Kim, Sun Hyung
Essays in Labor and Information Economics
Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, University of Iowa, 2019
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Cognitive Ability; College Graduates; Economic Changes/Recession; Labor Market Outcomes; Noncognitive Skills

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

In Chapter 1, I examine how labor market returns to cognitive skills and social skills vary with the business cycle over the past 20 years, using data from the NLSY79 and the NLSY97. Exploiting a comparable set of cognitive and social skill measures across survey waves, I show that an increase in the unemployment rate led to higher demand for cognitive skills in the 2000s. High unemployment also sorted more workers into information use intensive occupations that require computer skills in the 2000s, but it sorted more workers into routine occupations in the 1980s and 1990s. This evidence suggests that recessions accelerate the restructuring of production toward routine-biased technologies. I also find that the returns to social skills increase during periods of high unemployment, though only in terms of the likelihood of full-time employment for experienced workers. Furthermore, an increase in unemployment increases the social skill task intensity of a worker's occupation in the 2000s, while it shows the contrary in the 1980s and 1990s. Based on these results, I argue that routine-biased technological change may not readily substitute for workers in tasks requiring interpersonal interaction, and therefore such technologies demand experienced laborers who have high social skills during recessions.

In Chapter 2, I study the impacts of entry conditions on labor market outcomes to cognitive and social skills for the US college graduating classes of 1979-1989. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, I find that Workers with higher cognitive skills are more likely to be employed, find jobs more quickly and have higher-quality employment, while those with higher social skills voluntarily switch jobs more often. I also show that graduating in a worse economy intensifies the roles of social skills, allowing workers with higher social skills to catch up more quickly from poor initial conditions by switching jobs more often. This could partly explain why wage returns to cognitive skills declines but wage returns to social skills increases from graduating in recessions.

Bibliography Citation
Kim, Sun Hyung. Essays in Labor and Information Economics. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, University of Iowa, 2019.