The role of skills and tasks in changing employment trends and income inequality in Chile

Produced by: 
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA)
Available from: 
March 2021
Paper author(s): 
Gabriela Zapata-Román
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness

Using decomposition methods, we analyse the role of the changing nature of work in explaining changes in employment, wage inequality, and job polarization in Chile from 1992 to 2017. Changes in occupational structure confirm a displacement of workers from low-skill occupations towards jobs demanding non-routine higher skills (professionals and technicians), and to jobs demanding routine manual and cognitive tasks (services and sales). Changes in occupational earnings have had an equalizing effect, with more substantial gains in favour of lower-skill occupations and also at the top of the skill premium. Inequality reductions since the 2000s are explained by a fall in earnings in the top percentiles of the distribution, which have been reallocated most noticeably around the median (2000–06) and the bottom 30 per cent (2006–17). Changes in the returns to education and the relocation of workers towards less-routine occupations have contributed to the inequality reduction.


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