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Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures

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  • Eli Berman
  • John Bound
  • Zvi Griliches

Abstract

This paper investigates the shift in demand away from unskilled and toward skilled labor in U. S. manufacturing over the 1980s. Production labor-saving technological change is the chief explanation for this shift. That conclusion is based on three facts: (1) the shift is due mostly to increased use of skilled workers within the 450 industries in U. S. manufacturing rather than to a reallocation of employment between industries, as would be implied by a shift in product demand due to trade or to a defense buildup; (2) trade- and defense-demand are associated with only small employment reallocation effects; (3) increased use of nonproduction workers is strongly correlated with investment in computers and in R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:2:p:367-397.
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