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Routinization-Biased Technical Change, Globalization and Labor Market Polarization: Does Theory Fit the Facts?

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Author Info

  • Jaewon Jung

    (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS : UMR8184 - Université de Cergy Pontoise)

  • Jean Mercenier

    (TEPP - Travail, Emploi et Politiques Publiques - CNRS : FR3435 - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (UPEMLV), ERMES - Equipe de recherche sur les marches, l'emploi et la simulation - CNRS : UMR7017 - Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas)

Abstract

There is now ample evidence that jobs and wages have been polarizing at the extremes of the skill distribution since the early 90s. Autor, Levy and Murnane (2003) have suggested that this might be due to technology substituting more easily for labor in performing routine rather than non-routine tasks. Other potential explanations include globalization. Active empirical research has now identified important stylized facts. The aim of this paper is to provide a theoretical exploration of alternative potential causes to this labor market polarization, and to identify which, if any, are consistent with the stylized facts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00856105.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00856105

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Keywords: Skill Demands; Job Tasks; Polarization; Inequality; Technological Change; Routinization; Offshoring;

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References

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  1. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and lovely jobs: the rising polarization of work in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20002, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Weiss, Matthias, 2008. "Skill-biased technological change: Is there hope for the unskilled?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 439-441, September.
  3. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  6. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Jung J. & Mercenier J., 2008. "A Simple Model of Offshore Outsourcing,Technology Upgrading and Welfare," Working Papers ERMES 0808, ERMES, University Paris 2.
  8. Francis Green & Steven McIntosh, 2007. "Is there a genuine under-utilization of skills amongst the over-qualified?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 427-439.
  9. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
  10. Alan Manning, 2004. "We Can Work It Out: The Impact of Technological Change on the Demand for Low-Skill Workers," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(5), pages 581-608, November.
  11. Emily Blanchard & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Trade, Education, and The Shrinking Middle Class," Kiel Working Papers 1831, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  12. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Davide Castellani & Anne-Célia Disdier, 2006. "How Does Investing in Cheap Labour Countries Affect Performance at Home? France and Italy," Development Working Papers 215, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  13. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  14. Alan Manning, 2004. "We Can Work It Out: the Impact of Technological Change on the Demand for Low Skill Workers," CEP Discussion Papers dp0640, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Pär Hansson, 2005. "Skill Upgrading and Production Transfer within Swedish Multinationals," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 673-692, December.
  16. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
  17. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-73, October.
  18. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact Of Outsourcing And High-Technology Capital On Wages: Estimates For The United States, 1979-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Das, Satya P., 2011. "International trade and polarization in the labor market," Economics Discussion Papers 2011-48, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Anna Sabadash, 2013. "ICT-induced Technological Progress and Employment: A Literature Review," JRC-IPTS Working Papers on Digital Economy 2013-07, Institute of Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.

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