Boehm, Michael Johannes
Three essays on the allocation of talent.
PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
In my thesis I investigate the causes and the effects of the allocation of workers into occupations, sectors, and locations. My analysis is substantially aided by the availability of new data on workers’ talents (or skills). The first chapter of the thesis exploits the fact that workers choose occupations according to their talents in order to study the effects on wages of the declining demand for manufacturing and clerical occupations. This is done by relating the occupational choices and the wages associated with particular talents over two representative cohorts of young workers in the United States between the late 1980s and the late 2000s. The second chapter, which is conjoint work, analyses the effect of an inflow of talent on productivity and output in the academic sector. We exploit the countercyclical relative attractiveness of academia as an employer over the business cycle to study periods of high (recessions) and low (booms) inflow of talent into that sector. Finally, the third chapter shows that government policy in the form of commuting tax breaks has substantial effects on the allocation of workers into jobs and residences. In particular, I exploit two reductions of tax breaks for commuting in 2003/4 and 2006/7 in Germany to estimate commuting costs’ effects on workers’ decisions to change the location of their job and/or their house.
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