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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
DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2012.05.005
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  1. Pedro Carneiro & Sokbae Lee, 2011. "Trends in Quality-Adjusted Skill Premia in the United States, 1960-2000," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2309-49, October.
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  8. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
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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).
  14. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
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  18. 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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