Professor, Department of Economics, Uppsala University

Spring 2024 on sabbatical visiting Stockholm School of Economics as an Affiliated Professor 

Affiliated with: Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn and  Institute for evaluation of labour market and education policy (IFAU), Uppsala

Member of Executive Committee 

European Association of Labour Economists 

Steering Committees and similar

My research covers most aspects of the labor market, both from a micro and macro perspective. 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 wages. A reasonably complete list of my work can be found here, Below is a more detailed discription of some ongoing and recent work.

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, some examples can be found here (in Swedish).  Go here for some scattered blog posts and policy texts in English. 

Ongoing work (things I present at the moment, titles are tentative)

Athey S, L Simon, ON Skans, J Vikström  and Y  Yakymovych "The Heterogeneous Earnings Impact of Job Loss Across Workers, Establishments, and Markets"  [Using Generalized Random Forrest methods on very rich Swedish register data, we predict earnings losses from displacements due to plant closures. The analysis identifies the types of workers, industries and locations that policy makers should target when designing policies aiming at workers who will suffer from job loss.]

Carlsson M,  A Gorschkov, F Kramarz F and ON Skans “Beyond the Boundaries: Firm-to-Firm Connections in a Frictional Labor Market" [Firms are embedded in a web of connections to other firms through board interlock and through family ties of their directors. The majority of firms have at least one such connection. We show that these connections help firms reallocate labor across the connected firms The networks help small firms smooth out labor market frictions and mitigate the misallocating effect of economic shocks.]

Ek S, P Fredriksson, L Hensvik and ON Skans "Outside options and the sharing of match-specific rents" [We show the wage returns to better matches are highly pro-cyclical and that the starting wage after a job-change is a function of the match-quality in the previous job. This is because workers use counteroffers to extract rents from idiosyncratic match quality.] 

Graetz G, L Rambjer and ON Skans “Major Adjustments? Graduates' responses to changes in occupation-specific labor demand” [Graduates from each field of education among Swedish vocational high school and university graduates are concentrated into a narrow set of occupations. But when labor demand shifts across occupations, graduates move into new occupations without any detectable earnings losses, suggesting that their human capital is general in nature.]

Akerman A,  K Ekholm, T Persson, ON Skans "Sweden's COVID-19 Recession: How Foreign and Domestic Infections Struck against Firms and Workers" [Using population-wide monthly data on production, earnings, trade and consumption, we document tremendous heterogeneity within detailed sectors in how the pandemic recession affected the sales of Swedish firms and the earnings of these firms' (marginal) workers. Firm-specific trade-patterns and endogenous consumption responses explain much of this heterogeneity. ] Link to older IZA-version.

Recent work on... networks

Eliason M, L Hensvik, F Kramarz and ON Skans "Social Connections and the Sorting of Workers to Firms" Journal of Econometrics Volume 233, Issue 2, April 2023, Pages 468-506 [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" Economic Journal Volume 133, Issue 652, May 2023, Pages 1466–1509 [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 

Skans ON, P Choné and F Kramarz (2023) "When Workers' Skills Become Unbundled: Some Empirical Consequences for Sorting and Wages" in Akcit U and J van Reenen (eds.) The Economics of Creative Destruction, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA [Sorting on comparative advantage has increased over time, and workers with balanced (generalist) skills have seen faster wage growth than specialists. This jointly suggests that generalists are in a better position to receive full compensation for their skill vector in the modern economy where markets for skills are more open.] Working paper version here.

Graetz, G, P Restrepo and ON Skans (2022) "Technology and the Labour Market", Labour Economics, Volume 76, June 2022, 102177. [The article introduces a special issue with research covering central issues such as how technology changes the nature of labor demand, the impact of technology on individual workers, the role of policy, as well as emerging phenomena such as Artificial Intelligence and the “Gig” economy.]

Hensvik L and ON Skans (2023) "The Skill-Specific Impact of Past and Projected Occupational Decline" Labour Economics Vol 81, April 2023, 102326. [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.

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.]

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.]

Fredriksson P, L Hensvik and ON Skans (2018) "Mismatch of Talent - Evidence on Match Quality, Entry Wages and Job  Mobility" American 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.]

...the school-to-work transition, education, and family formation  

Graetz G, B Öckert and ON Skans (forthcoming) , "Parental Education and the Responses to Higher SAT Scores", Journal of Human Resources, older version, as IZA DP "Family Background and the Responses to Higher SAT Scores.

[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, Forthcoming, Journal 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.]

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]

Kramarz F, O Rosenqvist and ON Skans (2021) "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.]  



Research Papers

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Phone: +46 18 4715126;


Twitter: @OskarNSkans