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Polarization of the Nordic Labour Markets

Rita Asplund, Erling Barth (), Per Lundborg and Kjersti Misje Nilsen
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Rita Asplund: The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy ETLA
Kjersti Misje Nilsen: Institute for Social Research, Oslo

Finnish Economic Papers, 2011, vol. 24, issue 2, 87-110

Abstract: Labour-market polarization is characterized by increased employment in occupations at the top but also at the bottom of the skills and wage distributions, followed by a relative decline in ‘middling’ occupations. This paper documents a polarization trend also in the Nordic labour markets and contrasts it to comparative findings for the USA. Analysis of the extent to which differences in wage development across skill groups have enhanced or attenuated this process of polarization in employment patterns suggests that the U-shaped pattern of employment change prevails also after controlling for concomitant changes in relative occupational wages. Hence, it seems that also the Nordic countries have experienced a shift from skill-biased technological change to non-routine-biased technological change – or, more likely, a combination of the two – and that this process has not been particularly dampened by compressed wage structures or relatively more rigid wages.

JEL-codes: J21 J23 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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