I argue that the winners and losers from trade are decided primarily by occupation. In addition to fixed adjustment costs, workers build up specific human capital over time that is destroyed when they must change occupations. I show that ignoring human capital biases estimates of adjustment costs upward by a factor of 3. Estimating an occupational choice model of the Danish labor market, I show that 57 percent of the dispersion in worker outcomes is accounted for by occupations, and only 16 percent by sectors. Finally, the model suggests that rising import competition from 1995-2005 reduced lifetime earnings for 5 percent of workers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics