Estefania Galvan*, Björn Brey**

Séminaires internes
phd seminar

Estefania Galvan*, Björn Brey**

AMSE*, University of Nottingham**
Why has technological change not closed the gender wage gap?*
The long-run gains from the early adoption of electricity**
à distance
Mardi 17 novembre 2020| 11:00 - 12:30

Anushka Chawla : anushka.chawla[at]
Kenza Elass : kenza.elass[at]
Carolina Ulloa Suarez : carolina.ulloa-suarez[at]


*The impact of technological change and the extent to which labor markets are increasingly polarized are actively debated in current research. However, we know little about the effect of these structural changes on the dynamics of the gender wage differentials. Using administrative panel data for West Germany, this paper analyzes changes in the structure of employment and wages across occupations, to investigate how technological change has affected the gender wage gaps. My results show that gender segregation across occupations has mostly benefited female workers, contributing to narrow the gender gap. This is mostly explained by the fact that men are overrepresented in manual routine occupations (mainly industrial blue-collar jobs), which leave them more exposed to automation of work, but also because women increased their employment in cognitive non-routine occupations. However, this effect has been offset by wage changes within occupations. By investigating male and female wage trajectories, I find that the wage gains for male workers have been larger than those for females within the cognitive groups. This explains why, although women have been less exposed to the automation of work and increased their employment in non-routine high-pay occupations, technological change did not lead to greater reductions in the gender wage gap.

**This paper explores the effect of the early adoption of technology on local economic development. While timing and intensity of technology adoption are key drivers of economic divergence across countries, the initial impact of new technologies within advanced countries has been incredibly illusive. Resolving this puzzle, this paper documents that the early adoption of electricity across Switzerland was conducive to local economic development not just in the short-run, but also in the long-run. Exploiting exogenous variation in the potential to produce electricity from waterpower, this paper finds that electricity adoption at the end of the 19th century led to local differences in structural transformation. However, despite access to electricity becoming quickly universal in the early 20th century, due to the expansion of the electricity grid, economic development did not converge across areas. Instead, areas which adopted electricity early continue to be more industrialized and have higher incomes today. In particular, the geographical distribution of the newly emerging and innovative chemical industry was shaped by early electricity adoption, while employment gains through the building and operation of new power plants themselves were mostly short-lived. The main mechanism through which differences in economic development persist in the long-run is through increased human capital accumulation and innovation, rather than persistent differences in the way electricity is used.

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