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Technical Change and Polarization of the Labor Market: Evidence for Brazil, Colombia and Mexico

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  • Carlos Medina

    ()

  • Christian Posso

    ()

Abstract

We use occupations descriptions for Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, to build computer-use related tasks intensities, and link then to series of cross sections of data of each country in order to empirically assess to what extent the observed empirical regularities, and the reallocation of workers across occupations that require different tasks intensities, are consistent with the SBTC or polarization models. We find an increase of both wages and workers at the extremes of the wage or skills occupations distribution, the less routinaire/computerizabe, particularly pronounced in the period since personal computers began to be introduced in the region. This finding, along with other empirical regularities, provides support for some of the main implications of the polarization model in the cases of Colombia and Mexico.

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Paper provided by Banco de la Republica de Colombia in its series Borradores de Economia with number 614.

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Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:614

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Keywords: Relative Wages; Income Distribution; Technical Change. Classification JEL:J3; D3; O3;

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References

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  1. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Luis Eduardo Arango & Carlos Esteban Posada & José Darío Uribe, 2004. "Cambios en la Estructura de los Salarios Urbanos en Colombia (1984-2000)," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 002088, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  3. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
  4. Kiley, Michael T, 1999. "The Supply of Skilled Labour and Skill-Biased Technological Progress," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 708-24, October.
  5. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Ability-Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 469-497, May.
  6. Robert J. Gordon & Ian Dew-Becker, 2008. "Controversies about the Rise of American Inequality: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 13982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, And The Demand For Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376, February.
  8. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
  9. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 11986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  11. Duryea, Suzanne & Szekely, Miguel, 2000. "Labor markets in Latin America: a look at the supply-side," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 199-228, November.
  12. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2009. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 135-69, July.
  13. Christian Manuel Posso, 2010. "Desigualdad salarial en Colombia 1984-2005: cambios en la composición del mercado laboral y retornos a la educación post-secundaria," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  14. Desjonqueres, Thibaut & Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1999. " Another Nail in the Coffin? Or Can the Trade Based Explanation of Changing Skill Structures Be Resurrected?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 533-54, December.
  15. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Mauricio Santamaría, 2004. "Income Inequality, Skills And Trade: Evidence From Colombia During The 80s And 90s," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002832, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  20. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  21. Carlos Medina & Christian Manuel Posso, . "Colombian and South American Immigrants in the United States of America: Education Levels, Job Qualifications and the Decision to Go Back Home," Borradores de Economia 572, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  22. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Fernandes,Ana Margarida, 2004. "International economic activities and the demand for skilled labor: evidence from Brazil and China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3426, The World Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Carmiña O: Vargas, 2011. "Desigualdad de salarios en Colombia: evidencia a partir de encuestas de hogares 1984 - 2010," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 008808, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  2. Christian Manuel Posso Suárez, . "Desigualdad salarial en Colombia 1984-2005: cambios en la composición del mercado laboral y retornos a la educación post-secundaria," Borradores de Economia 529, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  3. Binelli, Chiara, 2014. "How the wage-education profile got more convex: evidence from Mexico," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1404, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.

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