From Occupations to Embedded Skills: A Cross-Country Comparison


The paper derives the skill content of thirty countries, ranging from low to high income ones, from the occupational structure of their economies. Five different skills are defined, as proposed initially for the United States by Autor, Levy and Murnane (2003), and later updated by Acemoglu and Autor (2010). Cross country measures of skill content show that the intensity of national production of manual skills declines with per capita income in a monotonic way, while it increases for non-routine cognitive and interpersonal skills. For some countries, we are able to trace the development of skill intensities of aggregate production over time. We find that while the increasing intensity of non-routine skills is uniform across countries, patterns of skill intensities with respect to different forms of routine skills differ markedly.


Published 1 January 2013