Professor II, University of Oslo 

I am an empirical labor economist. My research topics cover most aspects of the labor market, both from a micro and macro perspective. Some of my work has turned out to be policy relevant, and I have written a few policy-oriented books and reports on the Swedish labor market and participated in government commissions on various labor-related topics.  Many of my papers analyze the role of firms on the labor market - as nodes in social networks, as the hiring agents when young workers transition from school to work, and as determinants of productivity and wagesBelow are some examples of my most recent research output. (Go here for a complete list of academic publications.)

Recent work on... 
...social networks
Eliason M, L Hensvik, F Kramarz and ON Skans "Social Connections and the Sorting of Workers to Firms" , IZA Discussion Paper 12323, Revise and resubmitJournal of Econometrics. [Job search through social connections leads to less sorting inequality than market matching, even thought high wage workers are more likely to be connected to other high wage workers, and to high wage firms. This is because low-wage firms are more likely to make use of their connections, in particular when hiring high wage workers. ] 

Hensvik L, D Müller and O N Skans "Connecting the young: high school graduates' matching to first jobs in booms and great recessions" IFAU Working paper 2017:2 Revise and resubmitEconomic Journal [School-to-work transitions very often rely on connections established through market work during high school. These connections are particularly important during recessions.]

...wage setting, matching, productivity and technology 
Björklund M, M Carlsson and ON Skans (2019) "Fixed Wage Contracts and Monetary Non-Neutrality", American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, vol. 11( 2) pp. 171-92 
[The impact of monetary policy shocks are much less pronounced during periods when collective agreements are renegotiated. This suggests that wage rigidities are crucial for the transmission of monetary policy to the real economy.]

Hensvik L, P Fredriksson and ON Skans (2018) "Mismatch of Talent - Evidence on Match Quality, Entry Wages and Job  MobilityAmerican Economic Review Vol. 108, No. 11 (Nov), pp. 3303-3800. 
[The paper derives a direct measure of the quality of matches between workers' skill-sets and job-specific skill-requirements and relates match quality to mobility and wage trajectories of new hires.]

Carlsson M, J Messina and ON Skans (2021) "Firm-Level Shocks and Labor Flows", Economic Journal vol. 131(634), pp 598–623   
[The main reason for why firms adjust their workforce is permanent shocks to their product demand. Cost-saving technology shocks have a massive impact on product prices and output, without affecting employment.]

Hensvik L and ON Skans (2020) "The Skill-Specific Impact of Past and Projected Occupational Decline" IZA Discussion Paper 12931
[The paper shows how technical change alters the demand for different types of cognitive abilities and productive traits. Growing low-wage occupations are more skill-intensive than their wage levels would suggest.] Revise and resubmitLabour Economics

...the school-to-work transition, education, and family formation  
Lundin M, ON Skans and P Zetterberg (2021) "Leadership Experiences, Labor Market Entry, and Early Career Trajectories"Journal of Human Resources Volume 56, Number 2, Spring 2021, pp. 480-511.
[Being elected into Swedish student union councils at college has a very large causal impact on early labor market outcomes, but not on long-run outcomes. The results suggest that leadership experiences during college signal ability and ambition. 
Earlier version: IZA DP 11434]

Graetz G, B Öckert and ON Skans "Family Background and the Responses to Higher SAT Scores”, IZA Discussion Paper 13343. Revise and resubmitJournal of Human Resources. [High-ability students with low-educated parents massively increase their college enrollment and graduation rates if they score just above a top rounding threshold in the the Swedish SAT system. The effects are almost exclusively driven by participation in educational programs that would have been attainable even with lower scores.]

Engdahl M, M Godard and ON Skans Early Labor Market Prospects and Family Formation, IFAU Working Paper 2018:25. Revise and resubmitJournal of Human Resources. [Female high-school students who - due to the design of a policy pilot - graduated straight into a very deep recession, married and had children earlier, and were more likely to divorce, because they accepted partners with higher predicted divorce rates. These marriage market responses generated adverse long-run economic scars long after the labor market effects had vanished.]

Kramarz F, O Rosenqvist and ON Skans (2020) "How Family Background Shapes the Relationship Between Human Capital and Fertility", forthcoming Journal of Population Economics
[Associations between most human capital measures (education, grades, cognitive skills...) and fertility are much more positive within than across families for both sexes. In contrast, non-cognitive skills are very strongly associated with fertility both within and across families. This is because families choose to invest in the types of skills that are complementary to their family-specific preferences over career vs. family outcomes. 


Phone: +46 18 4715126;
Office: B407 at Ekonomikum