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Skilled Labour and International Specialisation in OECD Countries


  • Lars Lundberg
  • Par Wiker


Human capital and skilled labour are likely to become increasingly important determinants of industrial localisation. This paper calculates the factor content—the services of skilled labour, classified by level of education, embodied in trade in manufactures—for a sample of OECD countries in 1970-85. USA and Japan show a strong 'revealed comparative advantage' in human capital intensive production. In general, OECD countries where highly educated labour is abundant tend to specialise in and export skill intensive goods. Changes in the ranking with respect to specialisation in skill intensive goods, in particular the strong improvement of Japans' position, seem to be linked to different rates of accumulation of human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Lundberg & Par Wiker, 1997. "Skilled Labour and International Specialisation in OECD Countries," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 369-385.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:11:y:1997:i:3:p:369-385
    DOI: 10.1080/02692179700000024

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    Cited by:

    1. Zeddies, Götz, 2011. "Factor Content of Intra-European Trade Flows," IWH Discussion Papers 6/2011, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    2. Vlachos, Jonas & Svaleryd, Helena, 2001. "Financial Markets, the Pattern of Specialization and Comparative Advantage. Evidence from OECD countries," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 449, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 08 Nov 2001.

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