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Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain

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  • Maarten Goos

    (Department of Economics, Catholic University Leuven and Erasmus University)

  • Alan Manning

    (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics)

Abstract

This paper shows that the United Kingdom since 1975 has exhibited a pattern of job polarization with rises in employment shares in the highest- and lowest-wage occupations. This is not entirely consistent with the idea of skill-biased technical change as a hypothesis about the impact of technology on the labor market. We argue that the "routinization" hypothesis recently proposed by Autor, Levy, and Murnane (2003) is a better explanation of job polarization, though other factors may also be important. We show that job polarization can explain one-third of the rise in the log(50/10) wage differential and one-half of the rise in the log(90/50). Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:89:y:2007:i:1:p:118-133
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    1. Maury B. Gittleman & David R. Howell, 1995. "Changes in the Structure and Quality of Jobs in the United States: Effects by Race and Gender, 1973–1990," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 420-440, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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