The Global Distribution of Routine and Non-Routine Work

35 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2020

See all articles by Piotr Lewandowski

Piotr Lewandowski

Institute for Structural Research (IBS)

Albert Park

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST); Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies (IEMS)

Simone Schotte

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)

Abstract

Studies of the effects of technology and globalization on employment and inequality commonly assume that occupations are identical around the world in the job tasks they require. To relax this assumption, we develop a regression-based methodology to predict the country-specific routine task intensity (RTI) of occupations based on survey data collected in 46 low-, middle- and high-income countries. We find that within the same occupation jobs in low- and middle-income countries are more routine intensive than in high-income countries. We attribute these differences mainly to lower technology use in less-developed countries. Using predicted country-specific RTI measures for 87 countries that together employ more than 2.5 billion workers, we find that from 2000 to 2017 the shift away from routine work and towards non-routine work in low- and middle-income countries was much slower than in the high-income countries. The gap in average RTI increased and high-income countries remain the dominant provider of non-routine work. In contrast, assuming that occupations are identical around the world significantly overestimates the role of non-routine tasks in low- and middle-income countries and leads to an implausible conclusion that they have become the dominant supplier of non-routine work.

Keywords: de-routinization, economic development, global division of labour, task content of jobs, skills

JEL Classification: J21, J23, J24

Suggested Citation

Lewandowski, Piotr and Park, Albert and Schotte, Simone, The Global Distribution of Routine and Non-Routine Work. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3631595 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3631595

Piotr Lewandowski (Contact Author)

Institute for Structural Research (IBS) ( email )

Wiƛniowa 40B/8, 02-520
Warsaw
Poland

Albert Park

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) ( email )

Clearwater Bay
Kowloon, 999999
Hong Kong

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies (IEMS) ( email )

IAS 2019, Lo Ka Chung Building,
Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon
Hong Kong

HOME PAGE: http://iems.ust.hk

Simone Schotte

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) ( email )

Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
Hamburg, DE D-20354
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
46
Abstract Views
268
PlumX Metrics