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
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: Suggested Citation