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Job Polarization and Task-Biased Technological Change: Sweden, 1975–2005

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  • Adermon, Adrian

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Gustavsson, Magnus

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

This paper investigates the connection between the Swedish wage profile of net job creation and Autor, Levy, and Murnane’s (2003) proposed substitutability between routine tasks and technology. We first show that between 1975 and 2005, Sweden exhibited a pattern of job polarization with expansions of the highest and lowest paid jobs compared to middle-wage jobs. We then use cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of job-specific employment to map out the importance of routine versus nonroutine tasks for these changes. Results are consistent with substitutability between routine tasks and technology as an important explanation for the observed job polarization during the 1990s and 2000s, but not during the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, the overrepresentation of routine tasks in middle-wage jobs can potentially explain 44 percent of the growth of low-wage jobs relative to middle-wage jobs after 1990 but largely lacks explanatory power in earlier years.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2011:15.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 21 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2011_015

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Email:
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Related research

Keywords: Inequality; Job Mobility; Skill Demand; Skill-Biased Technological Change;

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  1. Martin Werding (ed.), 2006. "Structural Unemployment in Western Europe: Reasons and Remedies," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232464, December.
  2. Edin, P.-A. & Fredriksson, P., 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Papers 2000:19, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  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. Atkinson, A B, 2008. "The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199532438, Octomber.
  5. Oskar Nordström Skans & Per-Anders Edin & Bertil Holmlund, 2007. "Wage dispersion between and within plants: Sweden 1985-2000," NBER Working Papers 13021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Magnus Gustavsson, 2006. "The evolution of the Swedish wage structure: new evidence for 1992-2001," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 279-286.
  7. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2009. "The Growth of Low Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 15150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard B. Freeman & Birgitta Swedenborg & Robert Topel, 2010. "Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free05-1.
  9. Dustmann, Christian & Ludsteck, Johannes & Schönberg, Uta, 2007. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 2685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Domeij, David, 2006. "Rising Earnings Inequality in Sweden: The Role of Composition and Prices," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 639, Stockholm School of Economics.
  11. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2009. "The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number laze08-1.
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