Even after decades of gender convergence in skill-levels and employment, the occupational distribution of workers remains surprisingly segregated by gender. Occupational and task segregation are key factors behind the current slowdown in the narrowing of the earnings gap between men and. At the same time, changes in the occupational structure and demand for different tasks are attracting increased attention both in research and among policy makers: Digitalization and automation, globalization, and structural transformation are changing what we do for a living.
Women and men find themselves in different types of occupations, with different content and tasks. For that reason, they will be exposed to automation and digitization to varying degrees. When technological and digital shocks occur, this could therefore have different occupational and welfare effects for women and men. In the project, we are now analysing whether and how technological shocks affect women and men differently, by following men's and women's careers before and after such shocks. For this purpose, we use good register data at individual level.
Changing business cycles can also affect women and men differently because employers' market power vis-à-vis women and men changes over the course of the business cycles. This is called monopsonistic discrimination. In the project, we are now using good register data to analyse how employers' market power vis-à-vis their male and female employees (monopsonistic discrimination) varies over the business cycles.
To understand these patterns, it is also important to learn from history. In the project, we are now studying how economic structural shocks in the traditional teko-industry (textile industry and clothing industry) in the 60s and 70s. An industry that later disappeared. This was an industry where women made up a large proportion of the employees. We are now analysing how working in such a "sunset industry" affected women's further employment and welfare dependency.
Retraining and training of employees following structural changes as a result of technological changes can be important to ensure the necessary adjustment. We are now studying this using individual data on training from the Labor Force Survey (LFS), linked to register data at individual level, with and various indicators of structural economic shocks.
New technology through better broadband development has also increased the possibilities for homework/home office. By reducing the need for physical presence at the workplace, we are now investigating whether this can increase women's position in the labour market, by, among other things, increasing flexibility in the working day.
These occupational transitions are likely to take a new turn in the current corona-crisis: Digitalization is getting a new push, the secular decline in retail occupations and concurrent rise in health and care occupations are likely to accelerate, while offshoring may come to a halt with interruptions in the international value chains. Knowledge about these patterns is essential for understanding gender inequalities in the labor market and for designing policies that can remedy costs of occupational change that has a strong gender component.
The primary objective of this project is to study how the ongoing transformations in the occupational distribution affect men and women work differently: Their labor market opportunities, skills requirements, work hours, and wages. Our aim is to be able to unpack important mechanisms leading up to the aggregate patterns; how occupations are affected by the transformations, individual trajectories in adapting to change; the role of gender segregation between high and low productivity firms; and gender differences in skills transferability between occupations and re-skilling opportunities.
We have put together an excellent team of economists that include international partners from Wellesley college, US.
Even after decades of gender convergence in skill-levels and employment, the occupational distribution of workers remains surprisingly segregated by gender. Recent transformations in technology and globalization alters the occupational structure and demand for different tasks, changing what we do for a living. As the labor market is still highly gender segregated, changes in the demand for different occupations affect men and women differently.
In this project, we first analyze the impact of the last decade's occupational change on gender differences in the labor market and identify changes that have especially strong gender biases. We link the changes in the occupational distribution that we have experienced over the last decades to recent technological change, globalization, and structural change. We also utilize historical changes, such as the diminishing textile industry during the 1970's, to provide evidence on long term effects on individual labor market careers.
We then study the importance of different mechanisms behind the evolving gender differences in the labor market. These include sorting across occupations and across firms as well as men's and women's differential level of rent-sharing at the firm level. We also study the gendered gains from new technology that enhances flexibility at work. Last we study how men and women adjust to occupational change, and the need for, - and use of, - reskilling as a way to navigate into new labor market opportunities.