Rising Wage Inequality, Comparative Advantage, and the Growing Importance of General Skills in the United States
This study uses a model of comparative advantage to model the choice of workers into three broad occupations. The pursuit of comparative advantage is shown to reduce the level of inequality from what would occur in a random assignment of workers into occupations. However, after pricing the skills of workers separately within occupations, the results indicate that the sectors are becoming more similar in the way that they value workers' skills, thus reducing the importance of comparative advantage over time. Inequality is rising as the economy is increasingly characterized by the pursuit of absolute advantage rather than comparative advantage.
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- James J. Heckman, 1976. "Introduction to "Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4"," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sherwin Rosen, 1983. "A Note on Aggregation of Skills and Labor Quality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 425-431.
- Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
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