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Ongoing project

Changing health and skills requirements in the labour market?

Project period August 2018 - June 2022
Project employer Norges forskningsråd
Project nr. 10268 / NFR: 280307
Project leader Erling Barth
photo of people on job hunt


Project Approach

This project studies recent changes in skills and health requirements facing workers. Recent developments, such as technological change, organizational change, and globalization may change the composition of jobs in terms of skills and health requirments.

The focus of this project is on marginal workers, i.e. worker with low formal skills and/or with health challenges:

  • Which of these underlying develpments work for, and which work against, the inclusion of marginal workers, and who are more vulnerable to change, workers with disabilities, weak health or workers with low skills?

For instance; while restructuring from globalization may affect workers with low skills and health challenges negatively, the robot revolution may change job requirements to the advantage of workers with certain health challenges positively.

At the same time, and partly as a response to the same underlying forces, institutional aspects of the labour market are changing. Non-typical labour contracts appear to be on the rise. Domestic outsourcing creates several layers of organisational units between the worker and the employer or principal, self-employed workers may do tasks that were previously undertaken by employed workers, and various forms of temporary contracts are employed to limit the contractual obligations of the employer.

On the one hand, these forms of contracts may be seen as promoting flexibility and innovation, and as providing stepping stones for marginal workers. On the other hand, they may stimulate segregation into a two-tier labour market:

  • Who are impacted by the changes in contractual arrangements, and how is the sorting in and out of non-typical contracts for workers with low skills or health and disability challenges?

The project is also part of CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality at the Institute for Social Research.


  • Labor Demand in Crisis and Recovery. Covid 19: Research in the Wake of the Pandemic, digital seminar arranged by The Research Council of Norway, Mohn Foundation and Norwegian Cancer Society, 24. march 2021.


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Erling Barth Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 930 91 410
Harald Dale-Olsen Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 482 83 527 +47 958 08 463
Inés Hardoy Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 472 45 113
Marianne Røed Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 480 39 594
Marte Strøm Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 408 85 333
Janis Umblijs Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 925 27 810
Kjersti Misje Østbakken Research Director, Work and Welfare PhD +47 991 62 556
Richard Freeman (Harvard University og NBER)
Idunn Brekke (Nova, OsloMet)



Chutes and Ladders? Job Opportunities for Generation COVID
Erling Barth, Harald Dale-Olsen, Pål Schøne, and Kjersti Misje Østbakken 
IZA Discussion Paper # 14530

How Robots Change Within-Firm Wage Inequality
Erling Barth, Marianne Røed, Pål Schøne, and Janis Umlijs
IZA Discussion paper # 13605

Twisting the Demand Curve: Digitalization and the Older Workforce
Erling Barth, James C Davis, Richard B Freeman, and Kristina McElheran
NBER Working paper # 28094

  • Pål Schøne & Marte Strøm (2021). International labor market competition and wives’ labor supply responses. Labour Economics.
  • Erling Barth & Kjersti Misje Østbakken (2021). Fortsatt polarisering i det norske arbeidsmarkedet?. Søkelys på arbeidslivet.  38, s 23- 40
  • Erling Barth; Sara Cools & Marte Strøm (2019). Geografisk variasjon i sosial mobilitet: Polarisering i arbeidslivet, fraflytting og mødres yrkesaktivitet. Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning.  60, s 300- 308

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  • Erling Barth; Harald Dale-Olsen; Pål Schøne & Kjersti Misje Østbakken (2021). Chutes and ladders? Job Opportunities for Generation Covid. IZA Discussion Papers. 14530.
  • Erling Barth; Marianne Røed; Pål Schøne & Janis Umblijs (2020). How Robots Change Within-Firm Wage Inequality. IZA Discussion Papers. 13605.
  • Erling Barth; James Creece Davis; Richard B. Freeman & Kristina McElheran (2020). Twisting the Demand Curve: Digitalization and the Older Workforce. NBER Working Paper Series. 28094.
  • Pål Schøne & Marte Strøm (2019). International Labor Market Competition and Spousal Labor Supply Responses.

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  • Erling Barth; Pål Schøne; Harald Dale-Olsen & Kjersti Misje Østbakken (2021). The rise and fall - labor demand during COVID-19.
  • Kjersti Misje Østbakken (2020). Where did all the routine workers go? Occupational mobility, labor market exits and wage Growth in the era of automation.
  • Kjersti Misje Østbakken (2020). Where did all the routine workers go? Occupational mobility, labor market extis and wage growth in the era of automation.
  • Marte Strøm & Kjersti Misje Østbakken (2020). Temporary work reform - effects on job probabilities and earnings.
  • Kjersti Misje Østbakken (2020). Where did all the routine workers go? Occupational mobility, labor market exits and wage Growth in the era of automation.
  • Kristine von Simson (2019). Effekter av arbeidsmarkedstiltak mv - norske erfaringer.
  • Kristine von Simson (2019). Effekter av arbeidsmarkedstiltak - norske erfaringer.

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Tags: Working Life
Published June 29, 2018 12:29 PM - Last modified Aug. 31, 2021 9:54 AM