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What Accounts for the U.S.-Canada Education-Premium Difference?


  • Oleksiy Kryvtsov
  • Alexander Ueberfeldt


This paper analyzes the differences in wage ratios of university graduates to less than university graduates, the education premium, in Canada and the United States from 1980 to 2000. Both countries experienced a similar increase in the fraction of university graduates and a similar increase in skill biased technological change based on capital-embodied technological progress, but only the United States had a large increase in the education premium. Using a calibrated Krussel et al. (2000) model, the paper finds that the cross country difference is in equal proportion due to the effective stock of capital equipment, the growth in skilled labor supply relative to unskilled labor and the relative abundance of skilled population in 1980. Growth in the working age population is unimportant for the difference.

Suggested Citation

  • Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2009. "What Accounts for the U.S.-Canada Education-Premium Difference?," Staff Working Papers 09-4, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:09-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-362, June.
    2. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    3. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    4. J. B. Burbidge & L. Magee & A. Leslie Robb, 2002. "The Education Premium in Canada and the United States," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(2), pages 203-217, June.
    5. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
    6. Larry E. JONES & Rodolfo E. MANUELLI & Ellen R. McGRATTAN, 2015. "Why Are Married Women Working so much ?," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 75-114, March.
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    More about this item


    Labour markets; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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