Is There Job Polarization in Developing Economies? A Review and Outlook

Antonio Martins-Neto, Nanditha Mathew, Pierre Mohnen, Tania Treibich

World Bank Research Observer


In this paper we analyze the evidence of job polarization—the relative decline of mid-wage jobs—in developing and emerging economies. We carry out an extensive literature review, revealing that job polarization in these countries is only incipient compared to advanced economies. We then examine the possible moderating aspects explaining this lack of job polarization. We distinguish three groups of explanations: Limited technology adoption; structural change; and changes in the global value chains. Finally, we suggest new microeconomic data and empirical analyses that should be developed in order to guide evidence-based policy-making addressing those issues in developing and emerging economies.