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The global distribution of routine and non-routine work

Author

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  • Piotr Lewandowski
  • Albert Park
  • Simone Schotte

Abstract

Studies of the effects of technology and globalization on employment and inequality commonly assume that occupations are identical around the world in the job tasks they require. To relax this assumption, we develop a regression-based methodology to predict the country-specific routine task intensity (RTI) of occupations based on survey data collected in 46 low-, middle- and high-income countries. We find that within the same occupation jobs in low- and middle-income countries are more routine intensive than in high-income countries. We attribute these differences mainly to lower technology use in less-developed countries. Using predicted country-specific RTI measures for 87 countries that together employ more than 2.5 billion workers, we find that from 2000 to 2017 the shift away from routine work and towards non-routine work in low- and middle-income countries was much slower than in the high-income countries. The gap in average RTI increased and high-income countries remain the dominant provider of non-routine work. In contrast, assuming that occupations are identical around the world significantly overestimates the role of non-routine tasks in low- and middle-income countries and leads to an implausible conclusion that they have become the dominant supplier of non-routine work.

Suggested Citation

  • Piotr Lewandowski & Albert Park & Simone Schotte, 2020. "The global distribution of routine and non-routine work," IBS Working Papers 06/2020, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
  • Handle: RePEc:ibt:wpaper:wp062020
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    Cited by:

    1. Aleksandra Parteka & Joanna Wolszczak-Derlacz, 2020. "Wage response to global production links: evidence for workers from 28 European countries (2005–2014)," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 156(4), pages 769-801, November.
    2. Sabina Szymczak & Aleksandra Parteka & Joanna Wolszczak-Derlacz, 2019. "Position In Global Value Chains:The Impact On Wages In Central And Eastern European Countries," GUT FME Working Paper Series A 53, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology.
    3. Chunbing Xing, 2021. "The changing nature of work and earnings inequality in China," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2021-105, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Giuseppe De Arcangelis & Rama Dasi Mariani, 2019. "Multi-Country Tasks Measures: Beyond US-based Data and a Focus on Migration," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(3), pages 2155-2161.
    5. Federico S. Mandelman & Alan Finkelstein Shapiro, 2019. "Digital Adoption, Automation, and Labor Markets in Developing and Emerging Economies," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2019-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    6. Saloni Khurana & Kanika Mahajan, 2020. "Evolution of wage inequality in India (1983-2017): The role of occupational task content," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-167, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Antonio Martins-Neto & Nanditha Mathew & Pierre Mohnen & Tania Treibich, 2021. "Is There Job Polarization in Developing Economies? A Review and Outlook," CESifo Working Paper Series 9444, CESifo.
    8. Piotr Lewandowski, 2018. "How does technology change the nature of work? Poland vs. the EU," IBS Policy Papers 02/2018, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    de-routinization; economic development; global division of labour; task content of jobs; skills;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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