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Occupational Tasks and Wage Inequality in West Germany: A Decomposition Analysis

Miriam Rinawi and Uschi Backes-Gellner
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Miriam Rinawi: Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Miriam Koomen

No 112, Economics of Education Working Paper Series from University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Abstract: This paper investigates the role of occupational tasks in driving changes in the West German wage structure. Using administrative wage data matched with task data, we run RIF regression-based decompositions to quantify the contribution of cognitive, interactive, and manual tasks to changes in wage inequality from 1978 to 2006. We find that until the 1990s, changing returns to education and experience were driving wage inequality. Occupational tasks started playing a role only in the 1990s. During this period, increasing returns to cognitive tasks widened both upper-tail and lower-tail inequality. Conversely, decreasing returns to manual tasks were uniformly decreasing inequality. Furthermore, in the 2000s, we find an important role for interactive tasks in driving lower-tail inequality.

Keywords: wage inequality; skills; tasks; skill-biased technical change; decomposition analysis; RIF regression (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J24 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 46 pages
Date: 2015-02, Revised 2019-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ger
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Working Paper: Occupational Skills and the Evolution of Wages (2015) Downloads
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