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Wage Inequality and the Changing Organization of Work

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  • Görlich, Dennis
  • Snower, Dennis J.

Abstract

This paper sheds light on how changes in the organization of work lead to wage inequality. We present a theoretical model in which workers with a wider span of competence (higher level of multitasking) earn a wage premium. Since abilities and opportunities to expand the span of competence are distributed unequally among workers across and within education groups, our theory explains (1) rising wage inequality between groups, (2) rising wage inequality within groups, and (3) the polarization of work and the decoupling of the income distribution. Using a rich German data set covering a 20-year period from 1986 to 2006, we provide empirical support for our model.

Suggested Citation

  • Görlich, Dennis & Snower, Dennis J., 2010. "Wage Inequality and the Changing Organization of Work," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 37299, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkie:37299
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter & Violante, Giovanni L, 2002. "General Purpose Technology and Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 315-345, December.
    2. Becker, Sascha O. & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2013. "Offshoring and the onshore composition of tasks and skills," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 91-106.
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    4. Dennis J. Snower & Alessio J. G. Brown & Christian Merkl, 2009. "Globalization and the Welfare State: A Review of Hans-Werner Sinn's Can Germany Be Saved?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 136-158, March.
    5. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan, 2004. "Technological change, organizational change, and job turnover," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 265-291, June.
    6. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10093 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 184-193, February.
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    10. Dennis J. Snower, 1998. "Causes of changing earnings inequality," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 69-133.
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    12. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 2000. "Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 353-376, July.
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    15. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Görlich, Dennis, 2010. "Complementary tasks and the limits to the division of labour," Kiel Working Papers 1670, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Kohei Daido & Ken Tabata, 2012. "Skill-Biased Technological Change, Organizational Change, and Wage Inequality," Discussion Paper Series 84, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Feb 2012.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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