publication | |

Routine Biased
Technological Change
in a Middle-income
Country: the Case of South Africa

June 15, 2021

  Joel Gondwe, Rulof Burger, Janneke Pieters

Read A
Summary

This study sets out to make the following contributions to the expanding literature on the effects of routine-biased technological change in developing countries. The first contribution is to analyse trends in wages and the occupational distribution in the South African labour market between 1997 to 2015, to see whether there is any evidence that RBTC affected South African labour market outcomes.

Secondly, the author’s investigate whether a declining share of middle-skilled workers offset by the relative growth of low- or high-wage jobs, the informal sector, or unemployment, and whether this experience differs between workers of different population groups or genders.

The third contribution is to gauge the robustness of the results to using different measures of routine task intensity. It compares the results from using US-based measures of RTI to those obtained from data on occupational tasks in developing countries collected by the World Bank.

Finally, the document explores whether wage and employment trends that are consistent with RBTC may have been driven by other causes: specifically international trade or changes in labour supply.

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