Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Labor


In low- and middle-income countries, scaling essential health interventions to achieve health development targets is constrained by the lack of skilled health professionals to deliver services.

Concepts: Human, Economics, Labor, Star Trek: Voyager


We propose a network-based method for measuring worker skills. We illustrate the method using data from an online freelance website. Using the tools of network analysis, we divide skills into endogenous categories based on their relationship with other skills in the market. Workers who specialize in these different areas earn dramatically different wages. We then show that, in this market, network-based measures of human capital provide additional insight into wages beyond traditional measures. In particular, we show that workers with diverse skills earn higher wages than those with more specialized skills. Moreover, we can distinguish between two different types of workers benefiting from skill diversity: jacks-of-all-trades, whose skills can be applied independently on a wide range of jobs, and synergistic workers, whose skills are useful in combination and fill a hole in the labor market. On average, workers whose skills are synergistic earn more than jacks-of-all-trades.

Concepts: Economics, Skill, Employment, Supply and demand, Labor, Jacob Mincer, Individual capital


It is conventional in labor economics to treat all workers who are seeking new jobs as belonging to a labor pool, and all firms that have job vacancies as an employer pool, and then match workers to jobs. Here we develop a new approach to study labor and firm dynamics. By combining the emerging science of networks with newly available employment micro-data, comprehensive at the level of whole countries, we are able to broadly characterize the process through which workers move between firms. Specifically, for each firm in an economy as a node in a graph, we draw edges between firms if a worker has migrated between them, possibly with a spell of unemployment in between. An economy’s overall graph of firm-worker interactions is an object we call the labor flow network (LFN). This is the first study that characterizes a LFN for an entire economy. We explore the properties of this network, including its topology, its community structure, and its relationship to economic variables. It is shown that LFNs can be useful in identifying firms with high growth potential. We relate LFNs to other notions of high performance firms. Specifically, it is shown that fewer than 10% of firms account for nearly 90% of all employment growth. We conclude with a model in which empirically-salient LFNs emerge from the interaction of heterogeneous adaptive agents in a decentralized labor market.

Concepts: Economics, Emergence, Employment, Shortest path problem, Labour economics, Labor, Wage slavery, Beveridge curve


This population-based register study explored the association between having a child with/without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and parental sick leave and work participation. Parents of children with ASD living in Stockholm, Sweden in 2006 were more likely to be on sick leave, not in the labor force, or earning low income when compared to parents who did not have a child with ASD and these results remained after adjusting for familial socioeconomic factors and parental psychiatric care. Sick leave among parents was associated with having a child with ASD without intellectual disability (ID) but not ASD with ID. Although Sweden has policies helping families with children with ASD this study suggests that there exist unmet needs among these parents.

Concepts: Family, Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Mother, Father, Labor


The hidden barriers, or ‘gender pay gap’, preventing women from earning equivalent incomes to men is well documented. Yet recent research has uncovered that, in Britain, there is also a comparable class-origin pay gap in higher professional and managerial occupations. So far this analysis has only been conducted at the national level and it is not known whether there are regional differences within the UK. This paper uses pooled data from the 2014 and 2015 Labour Force Survey (N = 7,534) to stage a more spatially sensitive analysis that examines regional variation in the class pay gap. We find that this ‘class ceiling’ is not evenly spatially distributed. Instead it is particularly marked in Central London, where those in high-status occupations who are from working-class backgrounds earn, on average, £10,660 less per year than those whose parents were in higher professional and managerial employment. Finally, we inspect the Capital further to reveal that the class pay gap is largest within Central London’s banking and finance sector. Challenging policy conceptions of London as the ‘engine room’ of social mobility, these findings suggest that class disadvantage within high-status occupations is particularly acute in the Capital. The findings also underline the value of investigating regional differences in social mobility, and demonstrate how such analysis can unravel important and previously unrecognized spatial dimensions of class inequality.

Concepts: Dimension, Economics, Space, Spacetime, Finance, Social class, London, Labor


Systematic reviews offer the most reliable and valid support for health policy decision-making, patient information, and guideline development. However, they are labor intensive and frequently take longer than 1 year to complete. Consequently, they often do not meet the needs of those who need to make decisions quickly. Rapid reviews have therefore become a pragmatic alternative to systematic reviews. They are knowledge syntheses that abbreviate certain methodological aspects of systematic reviews to produce information more quickly. Methodological shortcuts often take place in literature identification. A potential drawback is less reliable results. To date, the impact of abbreviated searches on estimates of treatment effects and subsequent conclusions has not been analyzed systematically across multiple bodies of evidence. We aim to answer the research question: Do bodies of evidence that are based on abbreviated literature searches lead to different conclusions about benefits and harms of interventions compared with bodies of evidence that are based on comprehensive, systematic literature searches?

Concepts: Medicine, Decision making, Epistemology, Systematic review, Validity, Need, Labor, Abbreviation


The United States has experienced an unsustainable increase of the biomedical research workforce over the past 3 decades. This expansion has led to a myriad of consequences, including an imbalance in the number of researchers and available tenure-track faculty positions, extended postdoctoral training periods, increasing age of investigators at first U.S. National Institutes of Health R01 grant, and exodus of talented individuals seeking careers beyond traditional academe. Without accurate data on the biomedical research labor market, challenges will remain in resolving these problems and in advising trainees of viable career options and the skills necessary to be productive in their careers. We analyzed workforce trends, integrating both traditional labor market information and real-time job data. We generated a profile of the current biomedical research workforce, performed labor gap analyses of occupations in the workforce at regional and national levels, and assessed skill transferability between core and complementary occupations. We conclude that although supply into the workforce and the number of job postings for occupations within that workforce have grown over the past decade, supply continues to outstrip demand. Moreover, we identify practical skill sets from real-time job postings to optimally equip trainees for an array of careers to effectively meet future workforce demand.-Mason, J. L., Johnston, E., Berndt, S., Segal, K., Lei, M., Wiest, J. S. Labor and skills gap analysis of the biomedical research workforce.

Concepts: Critical thinking, United States, Research, Skill, Training, Employment, Supply and demand, Labor


In the early 2000s, Arizona, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Vermont expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income individuals, primarily childless adults. This change provides the researcher with an opportunity to analyze the effects of these expansions on labor supply and welfare enrollment. I use a large data set of 176 counties over 7 years, including 3 years of pre-expansion period, 1 year of implementation year, and 3 years of post-expansion period. Using a difference-in-differences approach, I find the most-affected counties had a 1.4 percentage-point more decline in labor force participation rate in comparison to other counties. Furthermore, I observe a 0.32 h decrease in average weekly hours and a 1.1 % increase in average weekly wages. This indicates labor supply was affected more than labor demand. I also observe a 0.49 % increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment after the Medicaid expansions. These results are robust to an alternative identification of the most-affected counties, inclusion of counties from comparison states, limiting the control group to only high-poverty counties from comparison states, exclusion of county-specific time trends, and different configuration of clustered errors. My findings provide early insights on the potential effects of new Medicaid expansions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), since 82 % of those newly eligible are expected to be childless adults.

Concepts: Economics, Affect, New York City, Unemployment, Labor force, Labor


Income inequality is very topical-in both political and economic circles-but although income and socioeconomic status are known determinants in health status, income inequality has garnered scant attention with respect to the health of US workers. By several measures, income inequality in the United States has risen since 1960. In addition to pressures from an increasingly competitive labor market, with cash wages losing out to benefits, workers face pressures from changes in work organization. We explored these factors and the mounting evidence of income inequality as a contributing factor to poorer health for the workforce. Although political differences may divide the policy approaches undertaken, addressing income inequality is likely to improve the overall social and health conditions for those affected. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print February 25, 2015: e1-e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302424).

Concepts: United States, Sociology, Economics, Employment, Negative and non-negative numbers, Population health, Economic inequality, Labor


The effect of changes in age structure on economic growth has been widely studied in the demography and population economics literature. The beneficial effect of changes in age structure after a decrease in fertility has become known as the “demographic dividend.” In this article, we reassess the empirical evidence on the associations among economic growth, changes in age structure, labor force participation, and educational attainment. Using a global panel of countries, we find that after the effect of human capital dynamics is controlled for, no evidence exists that changes in age structure affect labor productivity. Our results imply that improvements in educational attainment are the key to explaining productivity and income growth and that a substantial portion of the demographic dividend is an education dividend.

Concepts: Demography, Population, Economics, Demographics, Demographic economics, Labor, Demographic gift, Demographic transition