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Job polarization in Britain from a task-based perspective.Evidence from the UK Skills Surveys

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  • Martina Bisello
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    Abstract

    This paper analyses occupational changes in Britain between 1997 and 2006 from a task-based perspective using data from the UK Skills Surveys. In line with the existing literature, we show that employment has been polarizing. We analyse in detail the task content of the occupations which display the most significant employment changes during the period under consideration in light of ALM (2003) “ routinization hypothesis”. We show that changes in employment shares are negatively related to the initial level of routine intensity. Unlike previous studies using the same data, we explore the impact of computerization on routine task inputs excluding low-paying occupations that are not supposed to be directly affected.We show that our routine measure, which is negatively related to computerization, is likely to capture both the manual and the cognitive routine dimension. Finally, by using retrospective questions on past jobs, we provide evidence that middle-paid workers did not predominantly reallocate their labour supply to low-paying occupations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy in its series Discussion Papers with number 2013/160.

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    Date of creation: 01 Mar 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:pie:dsedps:2013/160

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    Keywords: Job polarization; technological change; occupations; tasks.;

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    1. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian Preston, 2008. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0803, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "The Changing Nature of Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    4. Lindley, Joanne, 2012. "The gender dimension of technical change and the role of task inputs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 516-526.
    5. 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.
    6. Stephan Kampelmann & François Rycx, 2011. "Task-Biased Changes of Employment and Remuneration: The Case of Occupations," Working Papers CEB 11-002, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Stephen Nickell & Jumana Saleheen, 2009. "The Impact of Immigration on Occupational Wages: Evidence from Britain," SERC Discussion Papers 0034, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    10. Antonczyk, Dirk & DeLeire, Thomas C. & Fitzenberger, Bernd, 2010. "Polarization and Rising Wage Inequality: Comparing the U.S. and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4842, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Oesch, Daniel & Rodriguez Menes, Jorge, 2010. "Upgrading or polarization? Occupational change in Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, 1990-2008," MPRA Paper 21040, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. 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.
    13. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and changes in skill structure: evidence from seven OECD countries," IFS Working Papers W98/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    14. Machin, Stephen, 1996. "Wage Inequality in the UK," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 47-64, Spring.
    15. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
    16. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning & Anna Salomons, 2009. "Job Polarization in Europe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 58-63, May.
    17. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-92, June.
    18. Richard Dickens & Alan Manning, 2004. "Spikes and spill-overs: The impact of the national minimum wage on the wage distribution in a low-wage sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C95-C101, 03.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. Mazzolari, Francesca & Ragusa, Giuseppe, 2007. "Spillovers from High-Skill Consumption to Low-Skill Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 3048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Why is the middle squeezed?
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-03-27 14:18:02
    2. Miliband's managerialism
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-06-19 13:10:37

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