Polarization(s) in Labour Markets

Revue Travail et Emploi, n° 157, 2019

Le 19 juin 2018, la Dares et le Département de la recherche du Bureau international du travail (BIT) ont organisé une conférence internationale sur le thème « Polarisation(s) sur le marché du travail ». Le présent numéro de Travail et Emploi constitue un prolongement de cette journée puisqu’il rassemble des articles issus des contributions de plusieurs participant·es.

Ce numéro, exceptionnellement en anglais, fera prochainement l’objet d’une publication en français.

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Éditorial
Camille Peugny, Géraldine Rieucau

Polarization(s) in Labour Markets. Introduction
Bruno Ducoudré, Véronique Simonnet

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Polarization(s) in Labour Markets : Synthesis and Perspectives
Alan Manning

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Job Polarization, Structural Transformation and Biased Technological Change
Zsófia L. Bárány, Christian Siegel

By reviewing our work in BÁRÁNY, SIEGEL (2018a, 2018b), this article emphasizes the link between job polarization and structural change. We summarize evidence that job polarization in the United States has started as early as the 1950s : middle-wage workers have been losing both in terms of employment and average wage growth compared to low- and high-wage workers. Furthermore, at least since the 1960s the same patterns for both employment and wages have been discernible in terms of three broad sectors : low-skilled services, manufacturing and high-skilled services, and these two phenomena are closely linked. Finally, we propose a model where technology evolves at the sector-occupation cell level that can capture the employment reallocation across sectors, occupations, and within sectors. We show that this framework can be used to assess what type of biased technological change is the driver of the observed reallocations. The data suggests that technological change has been biased not only across occupations or sectors, but also across sector-occupation cells.

Keywords : biased technological change, structural change, employment polarization
JEL : O41, O33, J24

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The Individual-Level Patterns Underlying the Decline of Routine Jobs
Guido Matias Cortes

This article reviews the findings from CORTES (2016) and CORTES, JAIMOVICH, and SIU (2017), which explore the micro-level patterns associated with the decline in middle-wage routine employment in the United States. I show that male workers who remain in routine jobs experience significantly slower long-run wage growth than those who switch to other occupations, even when compared to those who transition to lower-skill non-routine manual jobs. I also show that changes in the employment patterns of men with low levels of education and women with intermediate levels of education account for the majority of the decline in routine employment. Individuals with these demographic characteristics used to
predominantly work in routine jobs. In more recent years, they have become increasingly likely to be out of work.

Keywords : labor market polarization, technological change, heterogeneous effects, inequality
JEL : J21, J23, J31, J62

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Globalization, Job Tasks and the Demand for Different Occupations
Fredrik Heyman, Fredrik Sjöholm

Globalization has increased in recent decades, resulting in structural changes of production and labor demand. This paper examines how the increased global engagement of firms affects the structure of the workforce. We find that the aggregate distribution of occupations in Sweden has become more skilled between 1997 and 2013. Moreover, firms with a high degree of international orientation have a relatively skilled distribution of occupations and firms with low international orientation have a relatively unskilled distribution of occupations. High- and low-skilled occupations have increased in importance whereas middle-skilled occupations have declined with a resulting job polarization. We also discuss and analyze the role played by new technology and automatization.

Keywords : occupations, job polarization, globalization, multinational enterprises, exporter, automatization
JEL : F10, F16, F23

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