PhD Defence: Worker adjustment in the digital age


On Wednesday 14 June 2023 at 10.15 hrs. Ronja Röttger will defend her PhD thesis Worker adjustment in the digital age.

In her thesis she investigates two drivers of earnings inequality: digital technologies and the role of firms.

Digital technologies have received a lot of attention in the public and scientific debate as driver of rising earnings inequality. Previous research mainly focuses on economy-wide outcomes, however less is known about how digitalization affects individuals. Who wins and who loses from digital technologies? In her dissertation, Röttger shows that workers that have more nonroutine task competencies and more digital skills have better job opportunities. Moreover, she shows that highly educated workers earn wage premiums when they work in STEM occupations.

Another driver of rising earnings inequality has gained more attention in recent years: the role of firms. There is growing evidence that firms increasingly pay different wages. In contrast to a textbook model of labor markets, this suggests that firms have some power to set wages.

In her dissertation, Ronja Röttger shows that especially firms with high shares of firm-specific technology pay higher wage premiums to all of their employees. Besides, workers who earn high wages move more often to firms with high shares of firm-specific technology that pay high wages. In addition, this thesis provides some of the first causal evidence of substantial wage-setting power of firms in the Netherlands.

Ronja Röttger is a Postdoctoral Associate at Boston University and a PhD student at the Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.).

Start date and time
End date and time
Utrecht University Hall, Domplein 29 Utrecht or online
PhD candidate
R.C. Röttger
Worker adjustment in the digital age
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. M. Goos
dr. E.C.M. Rademakers