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Explaining International Differences in Male Wage Inequality by differences in Demand and Supply of Skill

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  • E Leuven
  • Hessel Oosterbeek
  • H van Ophern

Abstract

According to Blau and Kahn (1996) international differences in male wage inequality cannot be explained by a simple model of supply and demand for skill. We provide compelling evidence that this conclusion is due to employing an inappropriate measure of skill. Their measure is based on the strong assumption that years of schooling and years of experience are comparable across countries. This paper employs a direct skill measure obtained from an international comparative literacy test. Using this alternative measure of skill, we find that international differences in male wage inequality by skill between the US on the one hand, and Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland on the other hand, are consistent with relative differences in demand and supply of skill.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0392.

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Date of creation: May 1998
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0392

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Cited by:
  1. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," Research Memorandum 040, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  2. Peter Fredriksson & Björn Öckert & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2013. "Long-Term Effects of Class Size," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 249-285.
  3. Peter Fredriksson & Robert H. Topel, 2010. "Wage Determination and Employment in Sweden Since the Early 1990s: Wage Formation in a New Setting," NBER Chapters, in: Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, pages 83-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. R. Nahuis & H.L.F. de Groot, 2003. "Rising skills premia: you ain't seen nothing yet," Working Papers 03-02, Utrecht School of Economics.
  5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2004. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1139, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Francis Green & Alan Felstead & Duncan Gallie, 2003. "Computers and the changing skill-intensity of jobs," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(14), pages 1561-1576.
  7. Hipólito Simón, 2010. "International Differences in Wage Inequality: A New Glance with European Matched Employer-Employee Data," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(2), pages 310-346, 06.

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