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Polarization of the Nordic Labour Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Rita Asplund

    (The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy ETLA)

  • Erling Barth

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

  • Per Lundborg

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

  • Kjersti Misje Nilsen

    (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

Abstract

Labour-market polarization is characterized by increased employment in occupations at the top but also at the bottom of the skills and wage distributions, followed by a relative decline in ‘middling’ occupations. This paper documents a polarization trend also in the Nordic labour markets and contrasts it to comparative findings for the USA. Analysis of the extent to which differences in wage development across skill groups have enhanced or attenuated this process of polarization in employment patterns suggests that the U-shaped pattern of employment change prevails also after controlling for concomitant changes in relative occupational wages. Hence, it seems that also the Nordic countries have experienced a shift from skill-biased technological change to non-routine-biased technological change – or, more likely, a combination of the two – and that this process has not been particularly dampened by compressed wage structures or relatively more rigid wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Rita Asplund & Erling Barth & Per Lundborg & Kjersti Misje Nilsen, 2011. "Polarization of the Nordic Labour Markets," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 87-110, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:fep:journl:v:24:y:2011:i:2:p:87-110
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    File URL: http://www.taloustieteellinenyhdistys.fi/images/stories/fep/fep22011/fep22011_asplund.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Autor & David Dorn, 2009. "This Job Is "Getting Old": Measuring Changes in Job Opportunities Using Occupational Age Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 45-51, May.
    2. Guy Michaels & Ashwini Natraj & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Has ICT Polarized Skill Demand? Evidence from Eleven Countries over 25 years," NBER Working Papers 16138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
    4. Francesca Mazzolari & Giuseppe Ragusa, 2013. "Spillovers from High-Skill Consumption to Low-Skill Labor Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 74-86, March.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881.
    6. 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.
    7. Antonczyk, Dirk & DeLeire, Thomas & Fitzenberger, Bernd, 2010. "Polarization and Rising Wage Inequality: Comparing the U.S. and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4842, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Petri Böckerman & Seppo Laaksonen & Jari Vainiomäki, 2013. "Is There Job Polarization at the Firm Level?," Working Papers 1391, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
    2. Heyman, Fredrik, 2016. "Job polarization, job tasks and the role of firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 246-251.
    3. Böckerman, Petri & Laaksonen, Seppo & Vainiomäki, Jari, 2016. "Are Jobs More Polarized in ICT Firms?," IZA Discussion Papers 9851, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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