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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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  • Gasparini, Leonardo
  • Galiani, Sebastian
  • Cruces, Guillermo
  • Acosta, Pablo

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. Supply-side factors seem to have limited explanatory power relative to demand-side factors, and are only relevant to explain part of the fall in wage premia for high-school 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 (non-tertiary educated) workforce, although employment patterns by sector suggest that other within-sector forces are also at play, such as technological diffusion or skill mismatches that may reduce the labor productivity of highly-educated workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5921.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5921

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Keywords: Labor Markets; Labor Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Inequality; Tertiary Education;

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References

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  1. Marco Manacorda & Carolina Sánchez-Páramo & Norbert Schady, 2010. "Changes in Returns to Education in Latin America: The Role of Demand and Supply of Skills," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 307-326, January.
  2. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
  3. Gabriel Montes Rojas, 2006. "Skill premia in Mexico: demand and supply factors," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(14), pages 917-924.
  4. Guillermo Cruces & Leonardo Gasparini, 2008. "A Distribution in Motion: The Case of Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0078, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Orazio Attanasio & Pinelopi Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2003. "Trade Reforms and Wage Inequiality in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 9830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pablo Acosta & Leonardo Gasparini, 2007. "Capital Accumulation, Trade Liberalization, and Rising Wage Inequality: The Case of Argentina," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 793-812.
  9. Atolia, Manoj, 2007. "Trade liberalization and rising wage inequality in Latin America: Reconciliation with HOS theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 467-494, April.
  10. Galiani, Sebastian & Sanguinetti, Pablo, 2003. "The impact of trade liberalization on wage inequality: evidence from Argentina," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 497-513, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Daron Acemoglu & David Autor, 2010. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 16082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2011. "Rising Wage Inequality and Postgraduate Education," IZA Discussion Papers 5981, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Wai-Poi, Matthew, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Employment Flows and Wage Inequality in Brazil," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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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
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Lustig, Nora & Lopez-Calva, Luis F. & Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo, 2013. "Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 129-141.
  2. Raymundo Campos & Gerado Esquivel & Nora Lustig, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Income Inequality in Mexico, 1989-2010," Working Papers 1201, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Cruces, Guillermo & Gasparini, Leonardo, 2011. "Inequality in Education: Evidence for Latin America," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  5. 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.

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