Computers as Stepping Stones? Technological Change and Equality of Labor Market Opportunities
Ulrich Zierahn, ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research
This paper analyzes whether technological change improves equality of labor market opportunities by decreasing returns to parental background. We find that in Germany during the 1990s, computerization improved the access to technology adopting occupations for workers with low-educated parents, and reduced their wage penalty within these occupations. We also show that this significantly contributed to a decline in the overall wage penalty experienced by workers from disadvantaged parental backgrounds over this time period. Competing mechanisms, such as skill-specific labor supply shocks and skill-upgrading, do not explain these findings.
About the speaker
Dr. Ulrich Zierahn is a Senior Researcher at ZEW’s Research Department “Labour Markets and Social Insurance” in the Research Area “Digitalisation and International Labour Division (Leibniz-Program for Female Professors)” and Assistant Professor of Economics and Data Analytics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His research focuses on the consequences of digitalization and globalization for the dynamics of individual labour market careers and for the economic performance of regional labour markets. Moreover, he investigates the effects of agglomeration of economic activities on regional labour market disparities.