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The Rise of the Service Economy

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  • Francisco J. Buera
  • Joseph P. Kaboski

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of specialized high-skilled labor in the growth of the service sector as a share of the total economy. Empirically, we emphasize that the growth has been driven by the consumption of services. Rather than being driven by low-skill jobs, the importance of skill-intensive services has risen, and this has coincided with a period of rising relative wages and quantities of high-skilled labor. We develop a theory where demand shifts toward ever more skill-intensive output as income rises, and because skills are highly specialized this lowers the importance of home production relative to market services. The theory is also consistent with a rising level of skill and skill premium, a rising relative price of services that is linked to this skill premium, and rich product cycles between home and market, all of which are observed in the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14822.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Publication status: published as Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2012. "The Rise of the Service Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2540-69, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14822

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  1. Jess Benhabib & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1991. "Homework in macroeconomics: household production and aggregate fluctuations," Staff Report 135, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Zvi Griliches, 1992. "Output Measurement in the Service Sectors," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril92-1, May.
  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. Ngai, L. Rachel & Pissarides, Christopher A., 2005. "Structural Change in a Multi-Sector Model of Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 1800, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Katouzian, M A, 1970. "The Development of the Service Sector: A New Approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 362-82, November.
  6. Zvi Griliches, 1992. "Introduction to "Output Measurement in the Service Sectors"," NBER Chapters, in: Output Measurement in the Service Sectors, pages 1-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  8. Victor R. Fuchs, 1968. "The Service Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fuch68-1, May.
  9. George J. Stigler, 1956. "Trends in Employment in the Service Industries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number stig56-1, May.
  10. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 2007. "Education and Consumption: The Effects of Education in the Household Compared to the Marketplace," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 9-35.
  11. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 249-270, June.
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