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Two Phases of Labor Market Transition in Hungary: Inter-Sectoral Reallocation and Skill-Biased Technological Change

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  • Gabor Kezdi

    ()
    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

Hungary has been a front-runner in the transition to capitalism. It has also experienced exceptionally radical changes in employment and relative wages. One main feature of these changes is an enormous increase in the returns to skill. This paper argues that it is instructive to divide the process into two periods, divided by around the year 1995. The first period experienced major destruction of low-skilled jobs and large inter-sectoral reallocation, partly toward skill-intensive industries. Employment started to rebound in the second period, which has also seen a pervasive skill upgrade in all sectors. The skill premium in earnings started to grow even faster in the second stage because increasing demand for skill met a more and more inelastic supply in the short run. Long-run supply effects have been, however, strong as college enrollment rates soared. Introduction of new (foreign) capital seems to be a major factor behind increasing demand for skill. Foreign direct investment into Hungary was by far the largest among the transition countries until the late 1990's, but other Central-Eastern European countries started to catch up since. This suggests that the Hungarian experience might be helpful to predict labor market trends in other transition economies, especially those that attract significant foreign capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences in its series Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market with number 0203.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:has:bworkp:0203

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  1. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 78, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  3. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. László Halpern & Gábor Körösi, 2001. "Efficiency and market share in the Hungarian corporate sector," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(3), pages 559-592, November.
  5. Arpad Abraham & Gabor Kezdi, 2000. "Long-run trends in earnings and employment in Hungary, 1972-1996," Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market 0002, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  6. Gabor Kertesi & Janos Kollo, 2001. "Economic transformation and the revaluation of human capital - Hungary, 1986-1999," Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market 0104, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
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Cited by:
  1. Aleksandra Parteka, 2012. "Skilled-Unskilled Wage Gap Versus Evolving Trade And Labour Market Structures in the EU," Working Papers 1204, Instytut Rozwoju, Institute for Development.
  2. Hajnalka Tarjani, 2005. "Estimating some labour market implications of skill biased technology change and imports in Hungary," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0508, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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