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Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America. Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework, 1990-2010

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Author Info

  • Leonardo Gasparini

    (CEDLAS - UNLP)

  • Sebastián Galiani

    (Washington University in St. Louis)

  • Guillermo Cruces

    (CEDLAS-UNLP and CONICET)

  • Pablo Acosta

    (World Bank, Human Development, Latin America and Caribbean Region)

Abstract

It has been argued that a factor behind the decline in income inequality in Latin America in the 2000s was the educational upgrading of its labor force. Between 1990 and 2010, the proportion of the labor force in the region with at least secondary education increased from 40 to 60 percent. Concurrently, returns to secondary education completion fell throughout the past two decades, while the 2000s saw a reversal in the increase in the returns to tertiary education experienced in the 1990s. This paper studies the evolution of wage differentials and the trends in the supply of workers by educational level for 16 Latin American countries between 1990 and 2000. The analysis estimates the relative contribution of supply and demand factors behind recent trends in skill premia for tertiary and secondary educated workers. Supplyside factors seem to have limited explanatory power relative to demandside factors, and are only relevant to explain part of the fall in wage premia for highschool graduates. Although there is significant heterogeneity in individual country experiences, on average the trend reversal in labor demand in the 2000s can be partially attributed to the recent boom in commodity prices that could favor the unskilled (nontertiary educated) workforce, although employment patterns by sector suggest that other withinsector forces are also at play, such as technological diffusion or skill mismatches that may reduce the labor productivity of highlyeducated workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata in its series CEDLAS, Working Papers with number 0127.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0127

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  1. 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.
  2. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005," NBER Working Papers 12984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Brambilla, Irene & Carneiro, Rafael Dix & Lederman, Daniel & Porto, Guido, 2010. "Skills, exports, and the wages of five million Latin American workers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5246, The World Bank.
  4. Harrison, Ann & Hanson, Gordon, 1999. "Who gains from trade reform? Some remaining puzzles," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 125-154, June.
  5. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950–2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Leonardo Gasparini & Pablo Acosta, 2004. "Capital Accumulation, Trade Liberalization and Rising Wage Inequality: The Case of Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0005, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  7. Joanne Lindley & Stephen Machin, 2011. "Rising Wage Inequality and Postgraduate Education," CEP Discussion Papers dp1075, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Guillermo Cruces & Carolina García Domench & Leonardo Gasparini, 2012. "Inequality in Education: Evidence for Latin America," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0135, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  9. Leonardo Gasparini & Nora Lustig, 2011. "The rise and fall of income inequality in Latin America," Working Papers 213, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  10. Leonardo Gasparini & Guillero Cruces & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2011. "Recent Trends In Income Inequality In Latin America," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  11. Guillermo Cruces & Leonardo Gasparini, 2008. "A Distribution in Motion: The Case of Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0078, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  12. Manoj Atolia, 2002. "Trade Liberalization and Rising Wage Inequality in Latin America: Reconciliation with HOS Theory," Working Papers wp2002_03_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University, revised Feb 2006.
  13. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Wai-Poi, Matthew, 2007. "Trade liberalization, employment flows, and wage inequality in Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4108, The World Bank.
  14. Gabriel Montes Rojas, 2006. "Skill premia in Mexico: demand and supply factors," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(14), pages 917-924.
  15. Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2005. "The effect of minimum wages on actual wages in formal and informal sectors in Costa Rica," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1905-1921, November.
  16. Marco Manacorda & Carolina Sanchez-Paramo & Norbert Schady, 2005. "Changes in Returns to Education in Latin America: the Role of Demand and Supply of Skills," CEP Discussion Papers dp0712, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  17. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  18. Sebastian Galiani & Pablo Sanguinetti, 2003. "The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Wage Inequality: Evidence from Argentina," Working Papers 65, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Oct 2003.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America. Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework, 1990-2010
    by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-03-18 13:17:00
  2. Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework, 1990-2010
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2012-01-20 15:12:23
  3. Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework, 1990-2010
    by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-01-20 15:14:00
  4. Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework, 1990-2010
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2012-01-20 15:12:23
  5. Educational upgrading and returns to skills in Latin America : evidence from a supply-demand framework, 1990-2010
    by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-01-05 20:12:00
  6. Educational upgrading and returns to skills in Latin America : evidence from a supply-demand framework, 1990-2010
    by max.rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-01-05 20:12:00
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Cited by:
  1. Azevedo, Joao Pedro & Davalos, Maria Eugenia & Diaz-Bonilla, Carolina & Atuesta, Bernardo & Castaneda, Raul Andres, 2013. "Fifteen years of inequality in Latin America : how have labor markets helped ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6384, The World Bank.
  2. Campos, Raymundo & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lustig, Nora, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Income Inequality in Mexico, 1989.2010," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Lustig, Nora & Lopez-Calva, Luis F. & Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo, 2012. "Declining inequality in Latin America in the 2000s : the cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6248, The World Bank.
  4. Guillermo Cruces & Carolina García Domench & Leonardo Gasparini, 2012. "Inequality in Education: Evidence for Latin America," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0135, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  5. Binelli, Chiara, 2014. "How the wage-education profile got more convex: evidence from Mexico," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1404, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.

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