Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Collapse of Low-Skill Male Earnings in the 1980s: Skill Mismatch or Shifting Wage Norms?

Contents:

Author Info

  • David R. Howell

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)

Abstract

The most-often stated reason the decline in average real weekly wages among production workers has been that technological advancements have resulted in increased demand for skilled workers, leaving less-skilled workers with fewer job opportunities. In this paper, David R. Howell examines this possibility and concludes that while supply-side changes explain the gains experienced among educated workers, the hypothesis does not prove adequate in explaining the decline in wages experienced among less-educated workers. He also finds that while the demand for jobs requiring problem solving skills rose during the 1980s, the increase was not radically different from changes in the demand for these workers in past decades. Instead, the shift appears to have been not so much a decline in demand for low-skill workers as a rise in the share of low-wage jobs across the skills spectrum. In addition, Howell explains wage restructuring as linked to labor relations factors (such as changes in the terms of trade and declining union strength) rather than a function of production technology. This "shift in wage norms" hypothesis has two main parts: (1) lower wage offers to the same or similar workers for the same or similar work and (2) displacement of higher wage workers.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/mac/papers/9906/9906015.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9906015.

as in new window
Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 24 Jun 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9906015

Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 52; figures: included
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Erica L. Groshen, 1988. "Why do wages vary among employers?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 19-38.
  2. Juhn, Chinhui, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121, February.
  3. Allen, Steven G, 2001. "Technology and the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 440-83, April.
  4. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages," NBER Working Papers 4297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David R. Howell & Edward N. Wolff, 1991. "Trends in the growth and distribution of skills in the U.S. workplace, 1960รป1985," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(3), pages 486-502, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9906015. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.