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Tasks, Employment and Wages: An Analysis of the German Labor Market from 1979 to 2012

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  • Pikos, Anna Katharina
  • Thomsen, Stephan L.

Abstract

The literature has found evidence for a wage polarization depending on routine and non-routine working tasks. Using unique German survey data we ask whether wage polarization coincides with polarization in job satisfaction. First, we find that contrary to what polarization predicts, routine cognitive tasks are associated with higher wage. Second, satisfaction across tasks has converged rather than diverged. The main driver for these two findings are routine cognitive tasks which do not lower satisfaction but instead more often than not increase it. Evidence for polarization arises from the facts that non-routine analytic tasks tend to increase and routine manual to decrease satisfaction. But due to a persistent positive effect of routine cognitive tasks, we do not find clearcut satisfaction polarization.

Suggested Citation

  • Pikos, Anna Katharina & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2015. "Tasks, Employment and Wages: An Analysis of the German Labor Market from 1979 to 2012," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112929, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:112929
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    2. 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.
    3. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.),Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555, Elsevier.
    4. Christian Dustmann & Bernd Fitzenberger & Uta Sch?nberg & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2014. "From Sick Man of Europe to Economic Superstar: Germany's Resurgent Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 167-188, Winter.
    5. Oesch, Daniel, 2013. "Occupational Change in Europe: How Technology and Education Transform the Job Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199680962.
    6. 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.
    7. Paul R. Krugman, 1994. "Past and prospective causes of high unemployment," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Jan, pages 49-98.
    8. Oesch, Daniel & Rodriguez Menes, Jorge, 2010. "Upgrading or polarization? Occupational change in Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, 1990-2008," MPRA Paper 21040, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Coban, Mustafa, 2017. "Wage mobility, wage inequality, and tasks: Empirical evidence from Germany, 1984-2014," Discussion Paper Series 139, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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