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Changing Returns to Education During a Boom? The Case of Ireland

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  • Seamus McGuinness
  • Frances McGinnity
  • Philip J. O'Connell

Abstract

Ireland experienced dramatic growth in the economy and employment in the second half of the 1990s. This paper examines the consequences of that boom for returns to education and wage inequality using data from the Living in Ireland Survey for the years 1994, 1997, and 2001. Rapid economic growth is often expected to lead to increased returns to education and thus to rising wage inequality. We find fairly stable returns to education and falling wage inequality for men throughout the period, partly due to strong demand for unskilled labour, which helped maintain low-skilled wages. For women the wage premium for a university degree fell between 1997 and 2001, as did wage inequality. We argue that for women, low-skilled wages may have been kept up by the introduction of the minimum wage in 2000, and high-skilled wages fell due to a rapid rise in the supply of highly qualified women. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 CEIS, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by CEIS in its journal LABOUR.

Volume (Year): 23 (2009)
Issue (Month): s1 (03)
Pages: 197-221

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Handle: RePEc:bla:labour:v:23:y:2009:i:s1:p:197-221

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References

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  1. Nigel C. O’Leary & Peter J. Sloane, 2005. "The Return to a University Education in Great Britain," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 193(1), pages 75-89, July.
  2. David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  3. Nolan, Brian & O'Neill, Donal & Williams, James, 2002. "The Impact of The Minimum Wage on Irish Firms," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS44.
  4. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Microeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 115-156, 04.
  5. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and lovely jobs: the rising polarization of work in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20002, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Barrett, Alan & FitzGerald, John & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Earnings inequality, returns to education and immigration into Ireland," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(5), pages 665-680, November.
  8. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Helen Russell & Philip J. O’Connell, 2004. "Women Returning to Employment, Education and Training in Ireland - An Analysis of Transitions," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 35(1), pages 1-25.
  10. Lane, Philip & McCoy, Selina & Smith, Stephen & Smyth, Emer & Van Soest, Arthur & Walsh, John R., 2003. "Budget Perspectives 2004," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BMI172 edited by Callan, Tim & Doris, Aedin & McCoy, Daniel.
  11. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Biagetti, Marco & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2009. "Wage inequality and returns to schooling in Europe: a semi-parametric approach using EU-SILC data," MPRA Paper 19060, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Alan Barrett & Adele Bergin, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of Immigration in Ireland," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 35, pages 2.
  3. Aysit Tansel & Fatma Bircan Bodur, 2012. "Wage Inequality and Returns to Education in Turkey: A Quantile Regression Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 107-121, 02.
  4. Rafal Kierzenkowski & Isabell Koske, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are they Compatible? Part 8. The Drivers of Labour Income Inequality – A Literature Review," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 931, OECD Publishing.
  5. Brian Nolan & Bertrand Maitre & Sarah Voitchovsky, 2010. "Earnings Inequality, Institutions and the Macroeconomy – What Can We Learn from Ireland’s Boom Years?," Working Papers 201016, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  6. McGuinness, Seamus & Kelly, Elish & O'Connell, Philip J., 2008. "The Impact of Wage Bargaining Regime on Firm-Level Competitiveness and Wage Inequality: The Case of Ireland," Papers WP266, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  7. Sarah Voitchovsky & Bertrand Maitre & Brian Nolan, 2012. "Wage Inequality in Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” Boom," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(1), pages 99–133.
  8. Niamh Hardiman & Patrick Murphy & Orlaith Burke, 2008. "Legitimating Fiscal Stabilization: Ireland in Comparative Perspective," Working Papers 200813, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  9. Smyth, Emer & McCoy, Selina, 2009. "Investing in Education: Combating Educational Disadvantage," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS006.
  10. Brian Nolan & Bertrand Maitre & Sarah Voitchovsky & Christopher Whelan, 2012. "GINI DP 70: Inequality and Poverty in Boom and Bust: Ireland as a Case Study," GINI Discussion Papers 70, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

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