Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Reorganization of Firms and Labour Market Inequality

Author(s): Assar Lindbeck and Dennis J. Snower

Publication Date: March 1996

Keyword(s): Human Capital, Inequality, Information Flows, Organization of Firms, Restructuring, Technological Change and Wages

Programme Area(s): Human Resources

Abstract: This paper explores the implications of the ongoing reorganization of firms for inequality in the labour market. We show how recent technological advances in physical and human capital can lead to the breakdown of occupational barriers, creating demands for new combinations of skills, and thereby leading to new patterns of wage inequality. Specifically, our analysis indicates how the changes can segment the labour market into an expanding sector of restructured firms where wages are rising, a contracting sector of traditional firms where wages are relatively stagnant, and an expanding pool of the unemployed. The analysis helps explain various significant labour market phenomena, such as: the increased versatility of work; the widening dispersion of wages within occupational, educational, and job tenure groups in the United Kingdom and the United States, accompanied by a narrowing of the male-female wage differentials; the reorganization of firms from task-oriented departments to customer-oriented teams; and the breakdown of occupational barriers.

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Bibliographic Reference

Lindbeck, A and Snower, D. 1996. 'Reorganization of Firms and Labour Market Inequality'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.