Technology or Upskilling? Trends in the Task Composition of Jobs in Central and Eastern Europe

HKUST IEMS Working Papers No. 2016-40


Wojciech Hardy, Roma Keister, Piotr Lewandowski

In this paper we analyse the changes in the task content of jobs in Central and Eastern European countries between 1998 and 2013. We link the O*NET data on occupational characteristics with EU-LFS, following the approach of Autor, Levy and Murnane (2003), and Acemoglu and Autor (2011). We find that the CEE countries witnessed similar trends of rising intensity of non-routine cognitive tasks, and a decreasing intensity of manual tasks, although they differed with regards to changes in the routine cognitive task content. We assess the relative role played by education and technology in the development of task contents. We also decompose the observed changes into the contributions of sectoral, educational and occupational changes as well as the interaction between them. Our results show that workforce upskilling was the major factor behind the evolution of non-routine cognitive and manual tasks in CEE, whereas structural changes and shifts towards work with lower speed of de-routinisation have shaped routine cognitive tasks. 

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