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Supply and Demand Factors in Understanding the Educational Earnings Differentials: West Germany and the United States

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  • Gulgun Bayaz Ozturk
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    Abstract

    This paper uses data from the March Current Population Survey and German Socio-Economic Panel to investigate the role of market forces and the institutional constraints in explaining the educational earnings differentials in the United States and West Germany. We make use of simple supply and demand framework to differentiate the effects of market forces from wage-setting institutions. Results indicate that differential growth in the relative employment of skilled workers is responsible for the differences in returns to skill in both countries over the period of analysis. In particular, rising educational attainment is the major factor underlying the changes in the employment of skilled workers in each country and it is followed by institutional factors. However, in addition to the differential growth in relative demand for skilled labor, differences in wage-setting institutions explain most of the cross-country differences in skill premia. We also provide evidence for polarization of jobs which is a recent phenomenon in both labor markets.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cattaneo University (LIUC) in its journal The European Journal of Comparative Economics.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 235-263

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    Handle: RePEc:liu:liucej:v:8:y:2011:i:2:p:235-263

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    Related research

    Keywords: Earnings differentials; relative demand and supply of skills; skill premium; polarization.;

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    1. Kohn, Karsten, 2006. "Rising Wage Dispersion, After All! The German Wage Structure at the Turn of the Century," IZA Discussion Papers 2098, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
    3. Grabka, Markus M. & Schwarze, Johannes & Wagner, Gert G., 1999. "How Unification and Immigration Affected the German Income Distribution," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 867-878.
    4. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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