Abstract

This paper analyses the evidence of job polarization in developing countries. We carry out an extensive review of the existing empirical literature and examine the primary data sources and measures of routine intensity. The synthesis of results suggests that job polarization in emerging economies is only incipient compared to other advanced economies. We then examine the possible moderating aspects preventing job polar- ization, discussing the main theoretical channels and the existing empirical literature. Overall, the literature relates the lack of polarization as a natural consequence of lim- ited technology adoption and the offshoring of routine, middle-earning jobs to some host developing economies. In turn, the limited technology adoption results from sub- optimal capabilities in those economies, including the insufficient supply of educated workers. Finally, we present the main gaps in the literature in developing economies and point to the need for more micro-level studies focusing on the impacts of tech- nology adoption on workers’ careers and studies exploring the adoption and use of technologies at the firm level.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUNU-MERIT working papers
Number of pages54
Volume2021-045
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

SeriesUNU-MERIT Working Papers
Number045
ISSN1871-9872

JEL classifications

  • j24 - "Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity"
  • j63 - "Labor Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs"
  • o33 - "Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes"
  • e24 - "Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital"

Keywords

  • job polarization
  • routine intensity
  • skills
  • developing countries

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