Alessio Moro, University of Cagliari

"The Role of Gender in Employment Polarization"

Abstract

We document that employment polarization in the 1980-2008 period in the U.S. is
largely generated by women. For the latter, employment shares increase both at the
bottom and at the top of the skill distribution, generating the typical U-shape polar-
ization graph, while for men employment shares decrease in a similar fashion along the
whole skill distribution. We show that a canonical model of skill-biased technological
change augmented with a gender dimension, an endogenous market/home labor choice
and a multi-sector environment accounts well for gender and overall employment po-
larization.

The model also accounts for the absence of employment polarization during the 1960-1980 period, which is due to the at behavior of changes in women's employment shares along the skill distribution, and can reproduce the di erent evolution of employment shares across decades during the 1980-2008 period. The faster growth of skill-biased technological change since the 1980s accounts for a substantial part of the employment polarization generated by the model.