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Market Mechanism and Skill Premiums in the UK 1972-2002

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  • Peng, Fei
  • Kang, Lili

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of shifts in the relative supply and demand of skills on the skill premiums and wage inequality in the British labour market 1972-2002. We test the Katz and Murphy (1992) hypothesis that the changes of skill premiums can be explained by their relative supply shifts, given stable or steadily growing relative demand. Alternatively, Machin (2001) hypothesis holds if the changes of skill premiums can be explained by relative demand shifts, given stable or steadily growing relative supply. From co-variation of relative skill wages and relative labour supplies of skills, we reject the hypothesis that the relative labour demand for skill is stable over time for either males or females. By using detrended relative skill wages and supplies, we infer that the acceleration of relative demand for skills caused a positive association between relative skill wages and labour supplies for males in the 1980s and the 2000s, and for females after the 1970s. Hence, the steadily growing relative demand in Katz and Murphy (1992) can only broadly fit with the cyclical co-variation of skill premiums and supply for males, but not for the long term increasing trend of skill premiums and supply of females. We find the acceleration of relative demand for skilled workers after the 1970s as suggested in Machin (2001) hypothesis.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 50195.

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Date of creation: 18 Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:50195

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Keywords: wage inequality; labor supply; labor demand;

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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Patterns of Skill Premia," NBER Working Papers 7018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
  3. Adrian Wood, 1995. "How Trade Hurt Unskilled Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 57-80, Summer.
  4. O'Mahony, Mary & Robinson, Catherine & Vecchi, Michela, 2008. "The impact of ICT on the demand for skilled labour: A cross-country comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1435-1450, December.
  5. Wood, Adrian, 1998. "Globalisation and the Rise in Labour Market Inequalities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1463-82, September.
  6. Addison, John T. & Bailey, Ralph & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2003. "The Impact of Deunionisation on Earnings Dispersion Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 724, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Peng, Fei & Kang, Lili, 2012. "Labour market institutions and skill premiums: an empirical analysis on the UK 1972-2002," MPRA Paper 38541, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. O'Mahony, Mary & Peng, Fei, 2009. "Skill bias, age and organizational change," MPRA Paper 38767, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Machin, Stephen, 2001. " The Changing Nature of Labour Demand in the New Economy and Skill-Biased Technology Change," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(0), pages 753-76, Special I.
  10. 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.
  11. David N. F. Bell & Robert A. Hart, 2003. "Wages, hours, and overtime premia: Evidence from the British labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 470-480, April.
  12. Peng, Fei & Kang, Lili, 2013. "Cyclical changes in the wage structure of the United Kingdom: a historical review of the GHS 1972-2002," MPRA Paper 47210, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2004. "Unions and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 519-562, October.
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