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Technological Progress, Occupational Structure, and Gender Gaps in the German Labour Market

SOEPpapers 1207, 48 S.

Ronald Bachmann, Myrielle Gonschor


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We analyze if technological progress and the change in the occupational structure have improved women’s position in the labour market. We show that women increasingly work in non-routine manual and in interactive occupations. However, the observed narrowing of the gender wage gap is entirely driven by declining gender wag gaps within, rather than between, occupations. A decomposition exercise reveals that while explained factors have become more important contributors to the gender wage gap, the importance of unexplained factors factors has strongly declined. Therefore, unequal treatment based on unobservables, i.e. discrimination, is likely to have declined over time. Finally, technological change as measured by job tasks plays an ambiguous role. Institutional factors, and in particular part-time employment, are still a major driver of the gender wage gap.

JEL-Classification: J24;J31;O33
Keywords: Technological progress, job tasks, occupational structure, gender gaps, gender wage gap