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The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market

The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market tasks than to “nonroutine manual” tasks (such as those of truck drivers), the computerization of routine work can generate labor market polarization. The model predicts that wage polarization should be accompanied by employment polarization. II. Job Polarization Trends We examine trends in the “quality,” skill content, and task content of U.S. jobs since 1980. We follow Goos and Manning’s (2003) analysis of the United Kingdom in exploring how U.S. employment growth by occupation has been related to skill proxied by initial educational levels or wages. We first sort (3-digit) occupations into percentiles by mean years of schooling in 1980, using data from the 1980 Census Integrated Public Use Microsample (IPUMS). Figure 3 plots VOL. 96 NO. 2 MEASURING AND INTERPRETING TRENDS IN ECONOMIC INEQUALITY FIGURE 3. SMOOTHED CHANGES IN OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT SHARES 1980 –2000, WITH OCCUPATIONS RANKED BY THEIR 1980 AVERAGE YEARS OF SCHOOLING Source: Census Integrated Public Use Microsamples 1980, 1990, and 2000. employment growth, measured as the change in an occupation’s share of total hours worked, from 1980 through 1990 and 1990 through 2000, against 1980 occupational skill (education) percentile using employment shares from the 1980 to 2000 IPUMS.2 For the 1980s, the figure shows declining http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Economic Review American Economic Association

The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market

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References (67)

Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by the American Economic Association
Subject
Papers
ISSN
0002-8282
DOI
10.1257/000282806777212620
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

tasks than to “nonroutine manual” tasks (such as those of truck drivers), the computerization of routine work can generate labor market polarization. The model predicts that wage polarization should be accompanied by employment polarization. II. Job Polarization Trends We examine trends in the “quality,” skill content, and task content of U.S. jobs since 1980. We follow Goos and Manning’s (2003) analysis of the United Kingdom in exploring how U.S. employment growth by occupation has been related to skill proxied by initial educational levels or wages. We first sort (3-digit) occupations into percentiles by mean years of schooling in 1980, using data from the 1980 Census Integrated Public Use Microsample (IPUMS). Figure 3 plots VOL. 96 NO. 2 MEASURING AND INTERPRETING TRENDS IN ECONOMIC INEQUALITY FIGURE 3. SMOOTHED CHANGES IN OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT SHARES 1980 –2000, WITH OCCUPATIONS RANKED BY THEIR 1980 AVERAGE YEARS OF SCHOOLING Source: Census Integrated Public Use Microsamples 1980, 1990, and 2000. employment growth, measured as the change in an occupation’s share of total hours worked, from 1980 through 1990 and 1990 through 2000, against 1980 occupational skill (education) percentile using employment shares from the 1980 to 2000 IPUMS.2 For the 1980s, the figure shows declining

Journal

American Economic ReviewAmerican Economic Association

Published: May 1, 2006

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