Over the last thirty years the participation of female employees in industrial countries has strongly increased whereas the wage difference between men and women has noticeably decreased. At the same time the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT) at the workplace has strongly diffused. Numerous analyses make the change of the productivity structure and the equalisation of the educational level of men and women responsible for the increase in female occupation and their higher wages. But even considering the increasing equalisation, on average tasks of men and women still differ strongly. The extent to which women have benefited on the labour market by changed requirements due to the adoption of ICT has so far hardly been analysed.
The project compares different theoretical approaches for the explanation of gender-specific effects of ICT use. Based on this, several relations are examined empirically. The project analyzes the effect of ICT use on the wages of women and men taking into account differences in task content. For this purpose, data from the BIBB/IAB qualification and career survey are used, which permit a distinction between routine and non-routine tasks. It was shown that a shift from routine to non-routine tasks over time, especially a decrease in routine task content for women, is related to the decline in the gender wage gap.
Moreover heterogeneous effects of ICT use on wages were considered. As women and men are represented differently in different occupations and industries, we examined how wage premiums related to ICT use differ across occupational groups and industry sectors. A model averaging analysis based on the BIBB/IAB data found, that the wage differences between ICT users and non-users in the 1980ies and 1990ies was 2-5 percent higher among women than among men, holding demographic characteristics, occupational groups and industry sectors constant. Meanwhile we did not find any evidence that occupations held by a large share of women, such as office clerks, benefit more than average from ICT use.
Discussion and Working Papers
Black, Sandra E. and Alexandra Spitz-Oener (2007), Explaining Women's Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women's Work, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 07-033, Mannheim. Download