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Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries

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  • Stephen Machin
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

This paper compares the changing skill structure of wage bills and employment in the United States with six other OECD countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). We investigate whether a directly observed measure of technical change (R&D intensity) is closely linked to the growth in the importance of more highly skilled workers which has occurred in all countries. Evidence of a significant association between skill upgrading and R&D intensity is uncovered in all seven countries. These results provide evidence that skill-biased technical change is an international phenomenon that has had a clear effect of increasing the relative demand for skilled workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1215-1244.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:4:p:1215-1244.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355398555883
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    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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