This paper introduces indicators about the division of labour to measure
and interpret recent trends in employment in the Netherlands. We show
that changes in the division of labour occur at three different levels:
the level of the individual worker, the level of the industry and the
spatial level. At each level the current organisation of work is
determined by an equilibrium of forces that glue tasks together and
unbundled tasks. Communication costs are the main force for clustering
or gluing together tasks; comparative advantage stimulates unbundling
and specialisation. Our results show that on average the Netherlands has
witnessed unbundling in the period 1996-2005. So, on average the
advantages of specialisation have increased. These developments can
explain to a considerable extent changes in the structure of employment.
Especially at the spatial level our approach explains a substantial part
of the increase in offshoring during this period.
JEL: F16, J23, J24
Key Words: offshoring, tasks, technology, trade, labour market