Within and Between Firm Trends in Job Polarization: The Roles of Globalization and Technology

Kerr SariMaczulskij TerhiMaliranta Mika


We analyze occupational polarization within and across firms using a census of matched employer–employee panel data from Finland in the period of 2000–2014. As in most industrialized countries, the Finnish occupational distribution has polarized over the last decades. Using decomposition analysis, we find that jobs involving low-level service tasks increase mostly through the entry dynamics, while the high-level abstract task share increases largely within continuing firms. Worker-level occupational mobility points to some skill upgrading within continuing firms, while labor force entry and retirement contribute the polarizing trend. Instrumental variables (IVs) regressions confirm that this occupational restructuring is affected by the globalization of economic activity, including trade in goods and services, offshoring and outsourcing. For example, firms that outsource tasks abroad are more prone to lay off production workers, while domestic outsourcing leads to a reduction of both cognitive and service employees.

Journal of Economic Geography, 9.11.2019.

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J24, J31, O33
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