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Employment Polarisation in Australia

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  • Peter Dawkins
  • Paul Gregg
  • Rosanna Scutella

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Abstract

Whilst employment levels in Australia are healthy when compared to those twenty years ago, the available work has become increasingly polarised into either all-work or no-work households. This paper measures the extent of polarisation that has taken place in Australia since 1982 with a measure that accounts for changes in individual based employment and family structure. We find that employment growth over the period should have largely offset the effects of shifts in household composition towards more single-adult households. However, polarisation of employment across households means that there are around 3.3 percent more households with no earned income. We also find that couples with children have faced the bulk of this rising joblessness as a result of this polarisation. Exploration of wider shifts in employment away from less-educated men and toward prime-age better educated women explain about 40% of the adverse shift against couples with children. The increase in all-work households is confined to multi-adult households, again focused on families with children. Hence, there is a large shift in patterns of employment in households with children, away from a dominant single male earner model toward more dual-earner and no-earner households with children. This dramatic polarisation of work and incomes for families with children is likely to have consequence for welfare costs and child opportunities in the next generation.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp50.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 02/050.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:02/050

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Keywords: polarisation; joblessness;

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References

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  1. Bob Gregory, 1999. "Children and the Changing Labour Market: Joblessness in Families with Dependent Children," CEPR Discussion Papers 406, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Paul W. Miller, 1997. "The Burden of Unemployment on Family Units: An Overview," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 30(1), pages 16-30.
  3. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "The Growth of Jobless Households in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(2), pages 133-154.
  4. Paul Gregg & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2004. "Two sides to every story: measuring the polarisation of work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19959, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Dawkins, Peter, 1996. "The Distribution of Work in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 72(218), pages 272-86, September.
  6. Gregory, R.G. & Hunter, B., 1995. "The Macro Economy and the Growth of Ghettos and Urban Poverty in Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 325, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. repec:nsr:niesrd:72 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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Cited by:
  1. Russell, Helen & Layte, Richard & Maitre, Bertrand & O'Connell, Philip J. & Whelan, Christopher T., 2004. "Work-Poor Households: The Welfare Implications of Changing Household Employment Patterns," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS52, July.
  2. Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2004. "Reconciling Workless Measures at the Individual and Household Level: Theory and Evidence from the United States, Britain, Germany, Spain and Australia," CEP Discussion Papers dp0635, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Chris Ryan & Robert Breunig, 2005. "A Couples-based Approach to the Problem of Workless Families," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2005-454, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  4. Marloes Graaf-zijl & Brian Nolan, 2011. "GINI DP 5: Household Joblessness and its Impacts on Poverty and Deprivation in Europe," GINI Discussion Papers 5, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  5. repec:lan:wpaper:3012 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. C Green, 2009. "Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain. The Effect of Informal Job Search Methods on Post-Displacement Outcomes," Working Papers 599230, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  7. Rosanna Scutella & Mark Wooden, 2006. "Effects of Household Joblessness on Subjective Well-Being," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2006n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Colin Green, 2012. "Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 337-352, September.
  9. repec:lan:wpaper:2918 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. M. D. R. Evans & Jonathan Kelley, 2004. "Effects of Family of Origin on Women’s and Men’s Workforce Involvement," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n25, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  11. Nicolas Hérault & Guyonne Kalb & Rezida Zakirova, 2011. "Dynamics of Household Joblessness: Evidence from Australian Micro-Data 2001–2007," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  12. repec:lan:wpaper:3167 is not listed on IDEAS

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