Essays on Labour Economics: Understanding Structural Changes

Irastorza-Fadrique, A. (2023) Doctoral thesis, Unversity of Essex. [ONS LS]

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This thesis contains three self-contained chapters, seeking to provide valuable insights into recent changes shaping modern labour markets. Chapter 1 studies the impact of industrial robots – one of the leading automation technologies over recent decades – on local labour markets in Great Britain during 1998-2018. The analysis shows that robots have reshaped the demand for labour and caused reallocation across sectors but have not reduced total employment. Robot exposure resulted in a decline in job opportunities within manufacturing industries like transport equipment, counterbalanced by a more than compensatory surge in labour demand within the service industry.
Chapter 2, co-authored with Peter Levell and Matthias Parey, studies the labour market responses of individuals and their households to increased Chinese import competition in the 2000s. Drawing on large-scale data from linked decadal censuses in England and Wales, the chapter explores various margins of adjustment, including self-employment, retirement, family stability, and partners’ labour supply. The analysis underscores the importance of investigating household responses and the self-employment margin to fully understand the effects of trade shocks.
Chapter 3, co-authored with Michael J. Böhm and Ben Etheridge, studies the responsiveness of labour supply to the changing demand for jobs during 1985-2010. The chapter proposes a measure of occupation-specific labour supply elasticities, capturing the impact on employment of changes in the wage structure across occupations. These include wage changes in the occupation itself and wage changes in other occupations. It shows that an important catalyst of recent shifts in employment is the flexibility of labour supply to react to them. The analysis also underscores the importance of accounting for wage changes in other occupations to fully understand the evolution of the employment structure.

Available online: Doctoral thesis,
Output from project: 1007544


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