Delving into the Demand Side: Changes in Workplace Specialization and Job Polarization

51 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2016

See all articles by Guido Matias Cortes

Guido Matias Cortes

York University

Andrea Salvatori

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper offers the first study of job polarization in Great Britain using workplace level data. We document widespread and increasing occupational specialization within establishments, along with substantial heterogeneity in specialization within industries. Changes in the specialization profiles of workplaces account for most of the changes in the aggregate occupational shares between 1998 and 2011. The sharp rise in the fraction of workplaces specializing in non-routine tasks is associated with a large increase in the concentration of non-routine workers in workplaces that specialize in such occupations. We find no evidence of a decline in routine employment among establishments that report the adoption of new technologies, as would be expected from the standard routine-biased technological change hypothesis. Instead, we uncover new evidence that suggests that the increase in non-routine cognitive workplaces is linked to the growth in outsourcing of cognitive tasks.

Keywords: job polarization, technology, firm-level data, outsourcing

JEL Classification: J21, J23

Suggested Citation

Cortes, Guido Matias and Salvatori, Andrea, Delving into the Demand Side: Changes in Workplace Specialization and Job Polarization. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10120, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2822659 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2822659

Guido Matias Cortes (Contact Author)

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Andrea Salvatori

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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