Occupational Tasks and Changes in the Wage Structure

60 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2011

See all articles by Sergio Firpo

Sergio Firpo

Insper

Nicole M. Fortin

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics

Thomas Lemieux

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

This paper argues that changes in the returns to occupational tasks have contributed to changes in the wage distribution over the last three decades. Using Current Population Survey (CPS) data, we first show that the 1990s polarization of wages is explained by changes in wage setting between and within occupations, which are well captured by tasks measures linked to technological change and offshorability. Using a decomposition based on Firpo, Fortin, and Lemieux (2009), we find that technological change and deunionization played a central role in the 1980s and 1990s, while offshorability became an important factor from the 1990s onwards.

Keywords: wage inequality, polarization, occupational tasks, offshoring, RIF-regressions

JEL Classification: J3, J5

Suggested Citation

Firpo, Sergio and Fortin, Nicole M. and Lemieux, Thomas, Occupational Tasks and Changes in the Wage Structure. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5542. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1778886

Sergio Firpo (Contact Author)

Insper ( email )

R Quata 300
Sao Paulo, 04542-030
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/sergiopfirpo/

Nicole M. Fortin

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

997-1873 East Mall
Department of Economics
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Canada
604-822-3222 (Phone)
604-822-5915 (Fax)

Thomas Lemieux

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

997-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
514-343-2395 (Phone)
514-343-5831 (Fax)

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