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Polarization of the Nordic Labour Markets

  • 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)

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.

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Article provided by Finnish Economic Association in its journal Finnish Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (Autumn)
Pages: 87-110

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Handle: RePEc:fep:journl:v:24:y:2011:i:2:p:87-110
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  1. Mazzolari, Francesca & Ragusa, Giuseppe, 2007. "Spillovers from High-Skill Consumption to Low-Skill Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 3048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Michaels, Guy & Natraj, Ashwini & Van Reenen, John, 2010. "Has ICT Polarized Skill Demand? Evidence from Eleven Countries over 25 years," CEPR Discussion Papers 7898, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Antonczyk, Dirk & DeLeire, Thomas C. & 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).
  4. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Dustmann, Christian & Ludsteck, Johannes & Schönberg, Uta, 2007. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 2685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. David Autor & David Dorn, 2009. "This Job is 'Getting Old:' Measuring Changes in Job Opportunities Using Occupational Age Structure," NBER Working Papers 14652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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