Measuring and Interpreting Trends in the Division of Labour in the Netherlands

56 Pages Posted: 9 May 2011

See all articles by Semih Akcomak

Semih Akcomak

TEKPOL-METU; UNU-MERIT

Lex Borghans

Maastricht University - Department of Economics; University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bas ter Weel

University of Amsterdam - SEO Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract

This paper introduces indicators about the division of labour to measure and interpret recent trends in the structure of employment in the Netherlands. Changes in the division of labour occur at three different levels: the level of the individual worker, the level of the industry and the spatial level. At each level the organisation of work is determined by an equilibrium of forces that glue tasks together or unbundle them. Communication costs are the main force for clustering or gluing together tasks; comparative advantage stimulates unbundling and specialisation. The estimates suggest that on average the Netherlands has witnessed unbundling in the period 1996-2005, which implies that advantages of specialisation have increased. These developments explain to a considerable extent changes in the structure of employment. Especially at the spatial level it explains a substantial part of the increase in offshoring tasks abroad.

Keywords: division of labour, tasks, technological change, the Netherlands

JEL Classification: J23, J24, O33

Suggested Citation

Akcomak, Semih and Borghans, Lex and ter Weel, Bas, Measuring and Interpreting Trends in the Division of Labour in the Netherlands. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5666, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1835305

Semih Akcomak (Contact Author)

TEKPOL-METU ( email )

Ankara, 06531
Turkey

UNU-MERIT ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Lex Borghans

Maastricht University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bas Ter Weel

University of Amsterdam - SEO Economic Research ( email )

Roetersstraat 29
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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