Donald R. Davis, Eric Mengus, Tomasz K. Michalski, 23 April 2020

In recent decades, labour market polarisation led to a decline in middle-paid jobs partially offset by an increase in both high and low-paid jobs. At the same time, a great divergence of cities occurred, with initially skilled and typically larger cities becoming even more skilled relative to initially less skilled and typically smaller cities. This column prevents evidence on a tight link between these two phenomena in France. The heterogeneity of responses to labour market polarisation shocks across cities of different sizes is found to account for their consequently diverging trajectories.

Mitali Das, 13 November 2018

Evidence that routinisation lies behind labour market polarisation has been documented for many developed economies, but less is known about its impact in emerging markets. This column draws on national censuses and labour surveys for 160 countries between 1960 and 2015 to argue that although large-scale labour market dislocation is not imminent, emerging markets are becoming increasingly exposed to routinisation – and thus labour market polarisation – from the long-term effects of structural transformation and the onshoring of routine-intensive jobs.

Matias Cortes, Nir Jaimovich, Christopher Nekarda, Henry Siu, 02 October 2014

As routine tasks are increasingly automated, middle-wage jobs are becoming rarer. This column documents the changes in labour-market dynamics behind this polarisation, and investigates which workers are affected by it. Flows into middle-wage routine jobs are declining (rather than flows out increasing). Interestingly, routine cognitive workers – who tend to be educated women – are benefiting from this hollowing-out by moving up the occupational ladder.


CEPR Policy Research