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Skill Premium in Chile: Studying the Skill Bias Technical Change Hypothesis in the South

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  • Francisco Gallego

Abstract

The evolution of the skill premium (i.e., the wage differential between skilled and unskilled workers) in an economy has interest from at least two perspectives: the evolution of the skill premium is a rough measure of inequality among workers of different qualifications and provides information on the characteristics of the development process of the economy. In this paper, I investigate empirically the evolution of the skill premium in Chile over the last 40 years. After some fluctuations in the 1960s and 1970s, the skill premium increased in the 1980s and has remained roughly constant since then. A simple accounting framework suggests that this evolution is an outcome of a significant increase in relative demand for skilled workers in the 1980s and 1990s and a sizeable increase in the relative supply in the 1990s. Next, I explain the evolution of the relative demand for skilled labor in Chile in the context of the Acemoglu (2003a) model of endogenous technological choice where new technologies are produced in developed countries (like the US) and adopted in developing economies (like Chile). Macro evidence and sectoral evidence confirm the main theoretical prediction of the model: patterns of skill upgrading in Chile have followed the evolution of the same variable in the US.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 363.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:363

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  1. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "Long-run substitutability between more and less educated workers: Evidence from U.S. States 1950-1990," Economics Working Papers 764, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," NBER Working Papers 8832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olga Fuentes & Simon Gilchrist, 2005. "Trade Orientation and Labor Market Evolution: Evidence from Chilean Plant-level Data," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Jorge Restrepo & Andrea Tokman R. & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Edi (ed.), Labor Markets and Institutions, edition 1, volume 8, chapter 13, pages 411-435 Central Bank of Chile.
  5. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
  6. Pabo Sanguinetti & Sebastian Galiani, 2003. "The impact of trade liberalizationon wage inequality:Evidence from Argentina," Department of Economics Working Papers 011, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  7. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230, 04.
  8. Wacziarg, Romain & Wallack, Jessica Seddon, 2004. "Trade liberalization and intersectoral labor movements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 411-439, December.
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  10. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Juan Braun-Llona & Matías Braun-Llona, 1999. "Crecimiento Potencial: El Caso de Chile," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 36(107), pages 479-517.
  14. Katz, Lawrence F & Murphy, Kevin M, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78, February.
  15. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Beyer, Harald & Rojas, Patricio & Vergara, Rodrigo, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 103-123, June.
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  19. Nina Pavcnik, 2000. "What Explains Skill Upgrading in Less Developed Countries?," NBER Working Papers 7846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Julian Emami Namini & Ricardo Lopez, 2012. "Factor Price Overshooting with Trade Liberalization: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 52, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.

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