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Routinization-Biased Technical Change, Globalization and Labor Market Polarization: Does Theory Fit the Facts?

  • Jaewon Jung

    (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS : UMR8184 - Université de Cergy Pontoise)

  • Jean Mercenier

    (TEPP - Travail, Emploi et Politiques Publiques - CNRS : FR3435 - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (UPEMLV), ERMES - Equipe de recherche sur les marches, l'emploi et la simulation - CNRS : UMR7017 - Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas)

There is now ample evidence that jobs and wages have been polarizing at the extremes of the skill distribution since the early 90s. Autor, Levy and Murnane (2003) have suggested that this might be due to technology substituting more easily for labor in performing routine rather than non-routine tasks. Other potential explanations include globalization. Active empirical research has now identified important stylized facts. The aim of this paper is to provide a theoretical exploration of alternative potential causes to this labor market polarization, and to identify which, if any, are consistent with the stylized facts.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00856105.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00856105
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  1. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
  3. Robert E. Baldwin & Robert E. Lipsey & J. David Richards, 1998. "Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bald98-1, August.
  4. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
  5. Alan Manning, 2004. "We can work it out: the impact of technological change on the demand for low skill workers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19948, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. 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.
  7. Pär Hansson, 2005. "Skill Upgrading and Production Transfer within Swedish Multinationals," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 673-692, December.
  8. Jae-won Jung & Jean Mercenier, 2008. "A Simple Model of Offshore Outsourcing,Technology Upgrading and Welfare," THEMA Working Papers 2008-21, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  9. Weiss, Matthias, 2008. "Skill-biased technological change: Is there hope for the unskilled?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 439-441, September.
  10. Conyon, Martin J, et al, 2002. "The Productivity and Wage Effects of Foreign Acquisition in the United Kingdom," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 85-102, March.
  11. Emily Blanchard & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Trade, Education, and The Shrinking Middle Class," Kiel Working Papers 1831, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  12. Francis Green & Steven McIntosh, 2007. "Is there a genuine under-utilization of skills amongst the over-qualified?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 427-439.
  13. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-73, October.
  15. 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).
  16. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  17. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Alan Manning, 2004. "We Can Work It Out: the Impact of Technological Change on the Demand for Low Skill Workers," CEP Discussion Papers dp0640, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  19. 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.
  20. Barba Navaretti, Giorgio & Castellani, Davide & Disdier, Anne-Célia, 2006. "How Does Investing in Cheap Labour Countries Affect Performance at Home? France and Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5765, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact Of Outsourcing And High-Technology Capital On Wages: Estimates For The United States, 1979-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940, August.
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