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Labour market polarization as a localized process

Authors Martin Henning
Rikard H. Eriksson
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Business Administration, Management & Organisation
Language en
Subject categories Economic Geography


There are widespread concerns that the post-industrial process of economic change comes with an increasing polarization on the labour market, driven by a changing composition of jobs in the economy. At the same time, regional divergence characterizes spatial development in many developed economies. This paper creates a link between labour market polarization and regional divergence, and analyses the spatial patterns of labour market polarization in Swedish municipalities during the period 2002-2012. The paper shows that the national pattern of labour market polarization is driven by two main tendencies: First, polarization in previously manufacturing-dominated municipalities, and second, increasing labour market polarization and spatial selection within the fast-growing top-tier metropolitan regions. Outside these polarizing spaces, most municipalities, and in fact a majority of the entire population, still experience more traditional patterns of job upgrading. Our geographical analysis shows that the much-discussed abandonment of the traditional West-European job upgrading model towards a polarizing trajectory is not unequivocal. Instead, regional labour market change and metropolitan selection make labour market trajectories highly varied across space. The paper draws on Swedish matched employer-employee data containing detailed geo-referenced information on individuals’ occupations, sector affiliations and incomes, to assess which segments of the labour market grow or decline, and in which types of municipalities this is taking place.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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