Coworker Complementarity

CID Research Fellow & Graduate Student Working Paper No. 79

Frank Neffke
January 2017


How important is working with people who complement one's skills? Using administrative data that record which of 491 educational tracks each worker in Sweden absolved, I quantify the educational fit among coworkers along two dimensions: coworker match and coworker substitutability. Complementary coworkers raise wages with a comparable factor as does a college degree, whereas working with close substitutes is associated with wage penalties. Moreover, this coworker fitt does not only account for large portions of the urban and large-plant wage premiums, but the returns to own schooling and the urban wage premium are almost completely contingent on finding complementary coworkers.

Keywords: complementarity, substitutability, job match, coworkers, skills

Affiliated Program: Growth Lab