Upgrading or polarization? Occupational change in Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, 1990-2008
AbstractWe analyze the pattern of occupational change over the last two decades in Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland: which jobs have been expanding – high-paid jobs, low-paid jobs or both? Based on individual-level data, we examine what hypothesis is most consistent with the observed change: skill-biased technical change, routinization, skill supply evolution or wage-setting institutions? Our analysis reveals massive occupational upgrading that closely matches educational expansion: employment expanded most at the top of the occupational hierarchy, among managers and professionals. In parallel, mid-range occupations (clerks and production workers) declined relative to those at the bottom (interpersonal service workers). This U-shaped pattern of upgrading is consistent with the routinization hypothesis: technology seems a better substitute for average-paid clerical and manufacturing jobs than for low-end service employment. Yet country differences in low-paid service job creation suggest that wage-setting institutions play an important role, channelling technological change into more or less polarized patterns of upgrading.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21040.
Date of creation: 29 Jan 2010
Date of revision:
employment; labour market institutions; technological change; inequality; occupations;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
- P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-03-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-EUR-2010-03-20 (Microeconomic European Issues)
- NEP-LAB-2010-03-20 (Labour Economics)
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