Career instability in a context of technological change
The analysis of the evolution of employment and its relation with technological developments and globalization had any important presenters in this year's European Economic Association Congress. I was there presenting my research on workers careers, where I analyze how did individuals reacted to the risk of automation. Then analysis considers two countries, Germany and Great Britain, and shows that workers experienced different problems following the exposure to automation. In Germany, individuals had longer unemployment spells, which might indicate possible frictions in the labor market. In Great Britain, by contrast, unemployment spells had a similar duration, but workers in occupations more exposed to automation experienced more unstable careers.
A possible explanation for this different results is the institutional set-up.Great Britain is known for it more flexible labor market; whereas in Germany workers might have more difficulties in switching occupations. The importance of vocational studies in Germany could reinforce this trend, as workers had spent more time acquiring occupation specific skills, and which are more reluctant to treat as sink costs.
The congress was outstanding with people from all around Europe, and many researchers from top American universities. Of them all, I would like to thank Irene Palnau, from the University Paderborn for her wonderful comments.