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The March of the Techies: Job Polarization Within and Between Firms

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  • Harrigan, James
  • Reshef, Ariell
  • Toubal, Farid

Abstract

Using administrative employee-firm-level data on the entire private sector from 1994 to 2007, we show that the labor market in France has polarized: employment shares of high and low wage occupations grew, while middle wage occupations shrank. At the same time, the share of technology-related occupations (“techies”) grew substantially. Aggregate polarization was driven mostly by changes in the composition of firms within industries. Within-firm adjustments and changes in industry composition were much less important. Polarization occured mostly within urban areas, with roughly equal contributions of men and women. We study the role of technology adoption in shaping firm-level outcomes using a new measure of the propensity of a firm to adopt new technology: its employment share of techies. We find that techies were an important force driving aggregate polarization in France, as firms with more techies grew faster.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrigan, James & Reshef, Ariell & Toubal, Farid, 2021. "The March of the Techies: Job Polarization Within and Between Firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(7).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:50:y:2021:i:7:s0048733320300871
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2020.104008
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job polarization; Technological change; STEM skills; techies; Offshoring; Firm level data; JELJ2; O3; D3; F1; F16; F66;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor

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