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People Skills and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups

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  • Lex Borghans
  • Bas Ter Weel
  • Bruce A. Weinberg

Abstract

In this article, the authors show that people skills are important determinants of labor-market outcomes, including occupational choice and wages. Technological and organizational changes have increased the importance of people skills in the workplace. The authors particularly focus on how the increased importance of these skills has affected the labor-market outcomes of underrepresented groups, assuming that gender differences in interactions and cultural differences and prejudice may impede cross-racial and ethnic interactions. Estimates for Britain, Germany, and the United States are consistent with such an explanation. An acceleration in the rate of increase in the importance of people skills between the late 1970s and early 1990s in the United States can help explain why the gender wage gap closed and the black-white wage gap stagnated in these years relative to the preceding and following years.

Suggested Citation

  • Lex Borghans & Bas Ter Weel & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2014. "People Skills and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(2), pages 287-334, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:67:y:2014:i:2:p:287-334
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