The gravitational hypothesis is a theory that suggests that workers will gravitate, or move, to jobs that match their cognitive ability. Cognitive ability, in general terms, is a person’s cognitive capacity or general mental capability that determines how quickly that person can process and understand concepts and ideas. It is believed to be stable once a person reaches adulthood. According to the gravitational hypothesis, one driver of workers’ movement across jobs is their general cognitive ability such that high-ability workers gravitate toward jobs with high cognitive demands and low-ability workers gravitate toward jobs with low cognitive demands. Said another way, workers gravitate to work that they can adequately perform.

Clearly, there are many potential drivers of worker mobility across jobs, but this theory focuses on general ...

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