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The gender dimension of technical change and the role of task inputs

  • Lindley, Joanne

By 2011, the employment shares of UK graduate men and women had become equal for the first time. With no evidence of a significantly declining graduate female–male wage differential, this suggests that the relative demand for graduate women must have increased in order to accommodate the faster increase in their relative supply. However, gender clustering in degree subjects suggests that male and female graduates may not be perfect substitutes in production and therefore that gender biases may exist in the relative demand and supply of graduate labour. Consequently, this paper investigates whether industry level skill demand shifts have differed for men and women, focussing specifically on the role of technical change and job task inputs. The paper shows that, despite the large growth in the percentage of women obtaining a degree, overall women lost out from technical change between 1997 and 2006. This was most likely as a consequence of their lower quality numeracy and literacy skills, as well as other skills required to undertake the tasks that are correlated with technical change, especially in highly computerised private sector industries like finance and machine manufacturing.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 516-526

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:19:y:2012:i:4:p:516-526
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2007. "Explaining Women's Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women's Work," NBER Working Papers 13116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  13. Autor, David & Dorn, David, 2009. "Inequality and Specialization: The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 4290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. 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.
  17. Bruce A. Weinberg, 2000. "Computer use and the demand for female workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 290-308, January.
  18. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  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.
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