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. 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.