Task Specialization and the Native-Foreign Wage Gap: Evidence from Worker-level Data

54 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2020 Last revised: 9 Nov 2020

Date Written: June 26, 2020

Abstract

Running RIF regressions to decompose wage differences along the distribution, this is the first study documenting that worker-level variation in tasks has played a key role in the widening of the Native-Foreign Wage Gap. Comparing variation in Individual- vs Occupation-level task measures suggests idiosyncratic differences have become relatively more important since the 2000s, accounting for up to 25% of the explained wage gap. Importantly, natives specialize in interactive activities not only between but also within occupations. This enhanced degree of task specialization accounts for 8-16% of the gap and offers new insight into sources for imperfect substitution of native and foreign workers in the production function and consequently small migration-induced wage effects.

Keywords: Wage Gap, Individual Job Task Data, RIF Decomposition, Between- vs Within-Occupation Effects, Interactive Tasks

JEL Classification: J15, J21, J24, J31, J61

Suggested Citation

Storm, Eduard, Task Specialization and the Native-Foreign Wage Gap: Evidence from Worker-level Data (June 26, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636545 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636545

Eduard Storm (Contact Author)

Carleton College ( email )

1 North College St.
Northfield, MN 55057
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.carleton.edu/directory/estorm/

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