OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers

The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) develops evidence-based policy advice on the contribution of science, technology and industry to well-being and economic growth. STI Policy Papers cover a broad range of topics, including industry and globalisation, innovation and entrepreneurship, scientific R&D and emerging technologies. These reports are officially declassified by an OECD Committee.


Occupational transitions

The cost of moving to a “safe haven”

This study proposes experimental estimates of the monetary cost of the training needed to move workers across occupations. Occupations of destination are held “acceptable” if they are close, in terms of skills requirements, and entail small wage cuts and skills excesses (if any) relative to the occupation of origin.

The total estimated cost encompasses the direct cost of undertaking the training, and workers’ opportunity cost, in terms of foregone wages. The minimum cost of moving workers in occupations at high risk of automation (ROA) to occupations where they are not at such risk (so called “safe haven”) is estimated to range between 1-5% of one year GDP, on average across the countries considered.

At the worker level, occupational transitions’ costs increase with the cognitive skills and the average age of the workers in the occupation of origin, and with the proportion of workers at high ROA in manufacturing.


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