Trade and tasks

an exploration over three decades in Germany

Sascha O. Becker, Marc Andreas Muendler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper combines representative worker-level data that cover time-varying joblevel task characteristics of an economy over several decades with sector-level bilateral trade data for merchandise and services. We carefully create longitudinally consistent workplace characteristics from the German Qualification and Career Survey 1979- 2006 and prepare trade flow statistics from varying sources. Four main facts emerge: (1) intermediate inputs constitute a major share of imports and dominate German imports since at least the 1970s; (2) the German workforce increasingly specializes in workplace activities and job requirements that are typically considered non-offshorable, mainly within and not between sectors and occupations; (3) the imputed activity and job requirement content of German imports grows relatively more intensive in work characteristics typically considered offshorable; and (4) labourmarket institutions at German trade partners are largely unrelated to the changing task content of German imports but German sector-level outcomes exhibit some covariation consistent with faster task offshoring in sectors exposed to lower labourmarket tightness. We discuss policy implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-641
Number of pages53
JournalEconomic Policy
Volume30
Issue number84
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Human Capital
  • Skills
  • Occupational Choice
  • Labor Productivity
  • Empirical Studies of Trade
  • Trade and Labor Market Interactions
  • Labor Demand

Cite this

Becker, Sascha O. ; Muendler, Marc Andreas. / Trade and tasks : an exploration over three decades in Germany. In: Economic Policy. 2015 ; Vol. 30, No. 84. pp. 589-641.
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Trade and tasks : an exploration over three decades in Germany. / Becker, Sascha O.; Muendler, Marc Andreas.

In: Economic Policy, Vol. 30, No. 84, 10.2015, p. 589-641.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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KW - Occupational Choice

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KW - Labor Demand

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