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How general is human capital? A task based approach

This article studies how portable skills accumulated in the labor market are. Using rich data on tasks performed in occupations, we propose the concept of task‐specific human capital to measure empirically the transferability of skills across occupations. Our results on occupational mobility and wages show that labor market skills are more portable than previously considered. We find that individuals move to occupations with similar task requirements and that the distance of moves declines with experience. We also show that task‐specific human capital is an important source of individual wage growth, accounting for up to 52% of overall wage growth.