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The Effect of Product Demand on Inequality: Evidence from the US and the UK

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  • Leonardi, Marco

    ()
    (University of Milan)

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between product demand and the pattern of rising skill premia and rising employment of skilled workers in the US and the UK since the 1980s. If more skilled workers demand more skill-intensive goods, then an increase in relative skill supply will also induce a shift in relative skill demand. This channel reduces the need to rely on technology and trade to explain the patterns in the data. This paper shows that in the US more educated and richer workers demand more low skill-intensive services (such as cleaning and personal services) but also more skill-intensive services (such as education and professional services). The parametrization of a simple model suggests that this induced demand shift can explain around 7% of the total relative demand shift in the US between 1984 and 2002. Similar results are provided for the UK.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5011.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5011

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Related research

Keywords: wage inequality; product demand; income elasticity;

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References

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  1. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "Structural change in a multi-sector model of growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4468, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  7. Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1459, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Yatchew,Adonis, 2003. "Semiparametric Regression for the Applied Econometrician," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521812832, November.
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  10. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  20. Alan Manning, 2004. "We can work it out: the impact of technological change on the demand for low skill workers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19948, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  21. Leonardi, Marco, 2002. "Product Demand Shifts and Wage Inequality," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 125, Royal Economic Society.
  22. Autor, David & Dorn, David, 2009. "Inequality and Specialization: The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 4290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Dustmann, Christian & Ludsteck, Johannes & Schönberg, Uta, 2007. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 2685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Richard Blundell & Ben Etheridge, 2010. "Consumption, Income and Earnings Inequality in Britain," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 76-102, January.
  25. Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2002. "Does the sector bias of skill-biased technical change explain changing skill premia?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1757-1783, December.
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