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Delving into the Demand Side: Changes in Workplace Specialization and Job Polarization

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  • Guido Matias Cortes

    (University of Manchester, UK; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Andrea Salvatori

    (University of Essex, UK)

Abstract

This paper offers the first study of job polarization in Great Britain using workplace level data. We document widespread and increasing occupational specialization within establishments, along with substantial heterogeneity in specialization within industries. Changes in the specialization profiles of workplaces account for most of the changes in the aggregate occupational shares between 1998 and 2011. The sharp rise in the fraction of workplaces specializing in non-routine tasks is associated with a large increase in the concentration of non-routine workers in workplaces that specialize in such occupations. We find no evidence of a decline in routine employment among establishments that report the adoption of new technologies, as would be expected from the standard routine-biased technological change hypothesis. Instead, we uncover new evidence that suggests that the increase in non-routine cognitive workplaces is linked to the growth in outsourcing of cognitive tasks.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Matias Cortes & Andrea Salvatori, 2016. "Delving into the Demand Side: Changes in Workplace Specialization and Job Polarization," Working Paper series 16-21, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:16-21
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    3. Schaefer, Daniel & Singleton, Carl, 2017. "Recent changes in British wage inequality: Evidence from firms and occupations," MPRA Paper 76744, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Gunther Tichy, 2018. "Polarisierung der beruflichen Anforderungen durch die Digitalisierung?," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 91(3), pages 177-190, March.
    5. Guido Matias Cortes1 & Diego M. Morris, 2020. "Are routine jobs moving south? Evidence from changes in the occupational structure of employment in the USA and Mexico," WIDER Working Paper Series wp2020-11, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Qinan Lu & Xiaodong Du & Huanguang Qiu, 2022. "Adoption patterns and productivity impacts of agricultural mechanization services," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 53(5), pages 826-845, September.
    7. Cortes, Guido Matias & Tschopp, Jeanne, 2020. "Rising Concentration and Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 13557, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Maarten Goos & Melanie Arntz & Ulrich Zierahn & Terry Gregory & Stephanie Carretero Gomez & Ignacio Gonzalez Vazquez & Koen Jonkers, 2019. "The Impact of Technological Innovation on the Future of Work," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2019-03, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    9. Lu, Qinan & Du, Xiaodong, 2020. "The Outsourcing Choice of Agricultural Production Tasks: Implications for Food Security - A Multiple-task Based Approach," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304333, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Arntz, Melanie & Gregory, Terry & Zierahn, Ulrich, 2019. "Digitalization and the future of work: Macroeconomic consequences," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-024, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    11. Rita Ginja & Arizo Karimi & Pengpeng Xiao, 2023. "Employer Responses to Family Leave Programs," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 107-135, January.
    12. Guido Matias Cortes & Diego M. Morris, 2019. "Are Routine Jobs Moving South? Evidence from Changes in the Occupational Structure of Employment in the U.S. and Mexico," Working Paper series 19-15, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    13. Ganserer, Angelika, 2021. "Non-compliance with temporary agency work regulations: Initial evidence from Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-057, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    14. Storm, Eduard, 2022. "On the measurement of tasks: Does expert data get it right?," Ruhr Economic Papers 948, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Guido Matias Cortes & Jeanne Tschopp, 2019. "Rising Concentration and Wage Inequality," Diskussionsschriften dp1912, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    16. Seetha Menon & Andrea Salvatori & Wouter Zwysen, 2020. "The Effect of Computer Use on Work Discretion and Work Intensity: Evidence from Europe," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 58(4), pages 1004-1038, December.

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    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

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