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The Gender Dimension of Technical Change and Task Inputs

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  • Joanne Lindley

    (University of Surrey)

Abstract

Studies have shown technical change has led to job polarisation. A relatively unexplored aspect of this is whether there has been a gender bias. This paper shows gender bias in technology driven skill polarisation. Between 1997 and 2006 the demand for women shows hollowing out across education groups as a consequence of technical change. This was not the case for men. Overall, the demand for women has fallen relative to that for men as a consequence of technical change. This can be explained by a gender bias in the complementarities between computerisation and changes in task inputs. Numeracy skills are the largest complementarity to technical change and these help to explain the increase in the demand for highly skilled women. However, there are gender biased complementarities to technical change across a range of other non-routine tasks which can explain the fall in the demand for medium educated women and the overall increase in the relative demand for men. At the same time there was a fall in the gender pay differential. For moderate and complex computer users this fall is largely explained by changes in qualifications. However, there remains a large unexplained component suggesting that gender biased demand shifts towards numerate and computer literate women have significantly contributed to the closing of the gender pay gap.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Surrey in its series School of Economics Discussion Papers with number 0111.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:0111

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Keywords: Gender Pay; Task-Bias Technology Change; Skills;

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