NILS Working Papers

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    NILS Working Paper no 175. Low skill men’s access to ‘feminine’ care jobs in Australia: An occupational case study approach
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Moskos, Megan
    Labour market restructuring and the emergence of the ‘service economy’ have had profound impacts on the nature of work and the gender composition of employment in industrialised countries. Stagnating participation rates for low skilled men suggests that this cohort is struggling to adjust to the demands of the new economy. Centred around detailed case studies of two strategically chosen female dominated occupations, this research uses occupational sex segregation - a concept traditionally used to explain women’s employment outcomes – to understand what supports and what deters low skilled men from obtaining employment in traditionally female care occupations in Australia. The occupations selected for case study were aged care and child care. The case study approach involved 68 interviews with men who might take jobs in these occupations (i.e. unemployed men), employers, male workers and clients. The research finds that there are a number of factors operating on both the supply and demand side of the labour market that affect men’s willingness and ability to gain employment within these ‘feminine’ caring occupations. Gender essentialism was central to many of these processes and the paper highlights the mechanisms by which this operates to limit men's movement into female dominated care occupations. Despite the power of gender essentialism in producing occupational sex segregation, the research also finds that processes on both the supply and demand side reduced or moderated its impact. The paper concludes by discussing the implication these findings have for the ways in which gender segregation is theorised and generated in the workplace.
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    NILS Working Paper no 173. How does occupational sex segregation shape low skilled men's employment opportunities? Evidence from the ABS census
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Moskos, Megan
    A major feature of the contemporary Australian labour market is the declining participation of prime-age men, in particular those with low education levels. Using Census data for 1996 and 2006, this paper explores how occupational sex segregation – a concept traditionally used to explain female employment outcomes – has shaped low skilled men’s employment opportunities in Australia. The empirical evidence shows that employment for workers with limited levels of educational attainment has expanded most rapidly in occupations that are female-dominated. Men are not increasing their share of employment in these occupations. This evidence supports the argument that sex segregation in employment opportunities has contributed to men’s withdrawal from the labour force. The paper concludes by discussing the relative usefulness of occupational sex segregation as a theoretical framework for understanding low skilled men’s labour market situation.
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    NILS Working paper no 181. Modelling house prices across Sydney with estimates for access, property size, public transport, urban density and crime
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012) Abelson, Peter; Joyeux, Roselyne; Mahuteau, Stephane
    This paper examines the structure of house prices across the city, in this case Sydney, as an aid to urban development strategy and in particular to determine the potentially positive effects of public transport and negative effects of residential density on property prices. We model median house prices in 626 suburbs and achieve a high level of explanation. Distances from the CBD and from the coast are dominant factors in explaining house prices in Sydney. Predictably house and lot size are also highly significant factors. On the other hand a high propensity for violent crime significantly reduces property values. Over the whole city distance to rail station is not a statistically significant variable, but in suburb groups that are poorly served by other modes, median house prices fall significantly with increased distances to station. We found a similar but weaker result for access to high frequency buses. Contrary to expectation we found that higher density is marginally associated with higher median prices. However as the density variable is correlated (negatively) with median land area and, to a lesser extent, with distance to CBD, we would be cautious about concluding that density has no negative effect on house prices.
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    NILS Working paper no 167. Assisting people marginal to the labour market to gain and maintain employment: a spotlight on South Australia
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Moskos, Megan
    Until relatively recently Australia experienced unprecedented levels of economic growth. The number of jobs available was at an all time high and unemployment at a 30 year historical low. It is an unfortunate reality however, that some groups of people did not have the chance to share in this economic prosperity. This article draws from research conducted in South Australia that aimed to understand more fully the reasons why, in the economic boom period, aspirations for employment were not being met. It details the main findings arising from in-depth interviews conducted with 106 people who were currently not participating or underparticipating in paid employment. The article concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for the development of strategies to help such groups to gain employment and remain in employment.
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    NILS Working paper no 180. Job anxiety, work-related psychological illness and workplace performance
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Jones, Melanie K; Latreille, Paul L; Sloane, Peter J
    This paper uses matched employee-employer data from the British Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS) 2004 to examine the determinants of employee job anxiety and work-related psychological illness. Job anxiety is found to be strongly related to the demands of the job as measured by factors such as occupation, education and hours of work. Average levels of employee job anxiety, in turn, are positively associated with work-related psychological illness among the workforce as reported by managers. The paper goes on to consider the relationship between psychological illness and workplace performance as measured by absence, turnover and labour productivity. Work-related psychological illness is found to be negatively associated with several measures of workplace performance.
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    NILS Working paper no 179. Immigration policy and entrepreneurship
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Mahuteau, Stephane; Piracha, Matloob; Tani, Massimiliano; Vaira Lucero, Matias
    This paper analyses the impact of a change in Australias immigration policy, introduced in the mid-1990s, on migrants probability of becoming entrepreneurs. The policy change consists of stricter entry requirements and restrictions to welfare entitlements. The results indicate that those who entered under more stringent conditions, the second cohort, have a higher probability to become self-employed, than those in the first cohort. We also find significant time and region effects. Contrary to some existing evidence, time spent in Australia positively affects the probability to become self-employed. We discuss intuitions for the results in the paper.
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    NILS Working paper no 178. Labour market outcomes and skill acquisition in the host country: North African migrants returning home from the European Union
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Mahuteau, Stephane; Tani, Massimiliano
    This paper studies the educational investment decisions of returning migrants while abroad in the context of their decisions about the choice of activity upon returning and the duration of migration. The theoretical model builds on Dustmann (1999), Dustmann and Kirchkamp (1992) and Mesnard (2004). Using data from the MIREM database we explore whether the type of skills acquired by migrants while abroad is related to the activity chosen upon return and the duration of migration. The results suggest that the type of education plays a significant role in the migration decisions of those returning as wage earners or self-employed.
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    NILS Working paper no 177. An examination of the effect of wealth and earned income on the decision to retire in the UK
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Mavromaras, Kostas; Zhu, Rong
    This paper investigates the impact of financial wealth and earned income on the retirement decision using data from the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing. The estimation results from a random effect dynamic probit model show that housing wealth has virtually no impact on the decision to retire, while financial wealth encourages it and earned income discourages it. The retirement decision is also found to be state dependent, and this persistence is stronger for those retirees with lower housing wealth and lower financial wealth.
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    NILS Working paper no 176. Disability and job mismatches in the Australian labour market
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Jones, Melanie K; Mavromaras, Kostas; Sloane, Peter J; Wei, Zhang (NILS)
    We examine the relationship between disability, job mismatch, earnings and job satisfaction, using panel estimation on data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey (2001-2008). While we do not find any relationship between work-limiting disability and over-skilling, it appears that there is a positive relationship between work-limiting disability and over-education, which is consistent with disability onset leading to downward occupational movement, at least in relative terms. We find a negative correlation between work-limiting disability and both earnings and job satisfaction. However, there is only evidence of a causal relationship in terms of the latter, where the impact of disability is found to be multifaceted.
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    NILS Working paper no 171. Adjusting to skill shortages: complexity and consequences
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Healy, Joshua Gregory; Mavromaras, Kostas; Sloane, Peter J
    Skill shortages are often portrayed as a major problem for the economies of many countries including the Australian economy. Yet, there is surprisingly little evidence about their prevalence, causes and consequences. This paper attempts to improve our understanding about these issues by using econometric methods to analyse the Business Longitudinal Database, an Australian panel data-set with information about skill shortages in small- and medium-sized businesses during 2004/05. We use this information to: (1) explore the incidence of skill shortages and the business attributes that are associated with them; (2) identify which businesses face more complex skill shortages, as measured by the number of different causes reported simultaneously; and, uniquely, (3) examine how this complexity affects a business response to skill shortages and aspects of their subsequent performance. We show that complex skill shortages are more likely than simpler (single-cause) skill shortages to persist and to trigger defensive responses from businesses. We reject the conception of skill shortages as a homogenous phenomenon, and demonstrate the importance of distinguishing between skill shortages according to whether they have simple or complex causes.
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    NILS Working paper no 170. The impact of major--job mismatch on college graduates' early career earnings
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Zhu, Rong
    In this paper, I assess the impact of the mismatch between college major and job on college graduates' early career earnings using a sample from China. I find that on average a major--job mismatched college graduate suffers from a small income loss. I argue that Chinese universities' emphasis on both general skills and major-specific skills could possibly explain why the average income penalty from major--job mismatch is very limited for college graduates in China. I also find that the income loss is heterogeneous and skewed that about one third of the major--job mismatched college graduates earn more than those matched ones.
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    NILS Working paper no 169. Work-related health in Europe: are older workers more at risk?
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Jones, Melanie K; Latreille, Paul L; Sloane, Peter J; Staneva, Anita V
    This paper uses the fourth European Working Conditions Survey (2005) to address the impact of age on work-related self-reported health outcomes. More specifically, the paper examines whether older workers differ significantly from younger workers regarding their job-related health risk perception, mental and physical health, sickness absence, probability of reporting injury and fatigue. Accounting for the healthy worker effect, or sample selection, in so far as unhealthy workers are likely to exit the labour force, we find that as a group, those aged 55-65 years are more vulnerable than younger workers: they are more likely to perceive work-related health and safety risks, and to report mental, physical and fatigue health problems. As previously shown, older workers are more likely to report work-related absence.
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    NILS Working paper no. 168. Enterprise bargaining and productivity
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Hancock, Keith Jackson
    There can be no certainty about the productivity effects of enterprise bargaining, because the counterfactual situation is and will remain unknown. That said, I contend that there are good grounds for doubting that enterprise bargaining contributed much, if anything, to productivity; still less to ongoing productivity growth. These grounds are: 1. At most, there was a four-year boost in productivity whose timing does conceivably match the introduction and spread of enterprise bargaining. The boost has not endured. 2. If the four-year boost was policy-induced, there were other changes of policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s that may have been more important than the shift to enterprise bargaining. 3. When the productivity data are dissected to the industry level, it is hard to identify any large movements in productivity that could reasonably be ascribed to enterprise bargaining. Wholesale trade is a possible exception. The records of some major industries, notably mining and electricity, gas and water, suggest that much stronger influences have been at work.
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    NILS Working paper no 166. Are casual and contract terms of employment hazardous for mental health in Australia?
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Richardson, Susan (Sue); Lester, Laurence Howard; Zhang, Guangyu
    The risk that flexible forms of employment are harmful to the health of workers is a major public health issue for the many countries, including Australia, where such forms of employment are common or have been growing. We ask whether the century-old system of arbitrated protections for workers and the distinctive welfare state in Australia averts any such harm to mental health. If Australian workers are harmed despite these protections, this adds weight to the international concerns about the hazards of flexible employment. Employing nine waves of panel survey data and dynamic random-effects panel data regression models, we examine the mental health consequences of unemployment, and of employment on a casual or fixed-term basis, compared with permanent employment. We control for demographic and socio-economic characteristics, occupation, disabilities status, negative life events, and the level of social support. We find almost no evidence that flexible employment harms mental health. Unemployed men (but not women) have significantly and substantially lower mental health. But among the employed, only men who are on fixed term contracts, most especially graduates, have lower mental health than those who are employed on full-time permanent terms. Women have significantly higher mental health if they are employed full-time on casual terms.
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    NILS Working paper no 165. Improving the employment rates of people with disabilities through vocational education
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2011) Mavromaras, Kostas; Polidano, Cain
    During the 2001-2008 period, the employment rate of people with a disability remained remarkably low in most western economies, hardly responding to better macro-economic conditions and favourable anti-discrimination legislation and interventions. Continuing health and productivity improvements in the general population are leaving people with disabilities behind, unable to play their role and have their share in the increasing productive capacity of the economy. This paper combines dynamic panel econometric estimation with longitudinal data from Australia to show that vocational education has a considerable and long-lasting positive effect on the employment participation and productivity of people with disabilities.