The decline in employment and the rise of its social gradient

Project managerKnut Røed
ClientNorges Forskninsgråd
Client project no.280350/GE
ParticipantsBernt Bratsberg
Elisabeth Fevang
Elisabeth Thuestad Isaksen
Simen Markussen
Maria Nareklishvili
Oddbjørn Raaum
Knut Røed
Period2018 - 2022

Project description

The project seeks to identify and assess societal and labor market trends that can explain the recent decline in prime-age employment and the sharp increase in its social gradient.

The starting point is the observation that prime-age employment rates have declined sharply since the mid-1980s in a way that is highly correlated with family background. While employment rates have dropped quite spectacularly for young adults born into the poorest families in Norway, they are more or less unchanged for those born into wealthy families. The main idea of the project is to combine insights from research on social (intergenerational) mobility with insights from research on the impacts of skill-biased changes in labor demand and supply, to improve our understanding of the causal mechanisms behind the observed changes in employment patterns.

The project is empirical and will take advantage of extremely rich longitudinal administrative register data from Norway. It consists of three sub-projects.

The first sub-project examines whether skill-biased changes in the demand/supply of labor generated by longitudinal and spatial variation in immigration patterns can explain the decline in prime-age employment and the rise in disability program participation in a way that fits with the steep increase in the social gradients.

The second sub-project studies the role of education. It asks how the expansions of publically provided child-care and recent educational reforms have affected the social gradient in educational achievement and through that potentially also labor market performance. In this part of the project, we will also examine trends in overeducation (mismatch) in the Norwegian labor market.

The third sub-project examines the behavior of employers. It focuses on how employers' efforts to invest in long-term employee relationship - e.g. in terms of offering apprenticeships and develop inclusive work environments - depend on the ease by which they can find new employees.


Scientific Journal

Bratsberg, Bernt, Oddbjørn Raaum, Knut RøedImmigrant Responses to Social Insurance Generosity2020Labour Economics Vol 65[PDF] [DOI]
Bratsberg, Bernt, Torgeir Nyen, Oddbjørn RaaumEconomic returns to adult vocational qualifications2020Journal of Education and Work forthcoming[PDF] [DOI]
Bratsberg, Bernt, Torgeir Nyen, Oddbjørn RaaumAdult Vocational Qualifications Reduce the Social Gradient in Education2019Social Inclusion Vol 7(3), 95-109[PDF] [DOI]

Other journals

Hoen, Maria Forthun, Simen Markussen, Knut RøedInnvandring og sosial mobilitet. Svar til kritikerne2019Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning Vol 60(3), 309-320[PDF]

Other publications

Hoen, Maria F., Simen Markussen, Knut RøedImmigration and Social Mobility2018IZA Discussion Paper No. 11904[PDF]