April 2023

IZA DP No. 16078: Shifts in Composition of Jobs: Upgrading, Downgrading or Polarization? The Case of Russia 2000-2019

In this study, we explore the changing employment structure in the Russian economy since 2000. Does it change through a consequent substitution of relatively worst (in terms of quality) jobs by better jobs? Or through the destruction of middle quality jobs? Or do we observe stagnation and conservation of the job structure? Structural change of this sort can be brought by various factors among which technological progress and international trade that shape demand for labor of different quality and complexity play a special role. In search for clues to these questions, the authors use large data sets that cover two sub-periods divided by the 2008/9 crisis. The estimates presented in the paper allow the rejection of the polarization hypothesis and they document a fast upgrade of the job structure during the 1st sub-period and a stalemate during the 2nd one. Apparently, risks of job polarization are likely to be minimal until economic growth is recovered and a movement to the technological frontier is accelerated.