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The schooling response to a sustained increase in low-skill wages: evidence from Spain 1989-2009

Author

Listed:
  • Aitor Lacuesta

    () (Banco de España)

  • Sergio Puente

    () (Banco de España)

  • Ernesto Villanueva

    () (Banco de España)

Abstract

The response of human capital accumulation to changes in the anticipated returns to schooling determines the type of skills supplied to the labor market, the productivity of future cohorts, and the evolution of inequality. Unlike the US, the UK or Germany, Spain has experienced since 1995 a drop in the returns to medium and tertiary education and, with a lag, a drop in schooling attainment of recent cohorts, providing the opportunity to estimate the response of different forms of human capital acquisition to relative increases in low-skill wages. We measure the expected returns to schooling using skill-specific wages bargained in collective agreements at the province-industry level. We argue that those wages are easily observable by youths and relatively insensitive to shifts in the supply of workers. Our preferred estimates suggest that a 10% increase in the ratio of wages of unskilled workers to the wages of mid-skill workers increases the fraction of males completing at most compulsory schooling by between 2 and 5 percentage points. The response is driven by males from less educated parents and comes at the expense of students from the academic high school track rather than the vocational training track.

Suggested Citation

  • Aitor Lacuesta & Sergio Puente & Ernesto Villanueva, 2011. "The schooling response to a sustained increase in low-skill wages: evidence from Spain 1989-2009," Working Papers 1208, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  • Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:1208
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bde.es/f/webbde/SES/Secciones/Publicaciones/PublicacionesSeriadas/DocumentosTrabajo/12/Fich/dt1208e.pdf
    File Function: First version, Febrary 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harris Dellas & Plutarchos Sakellaris, 2003. "On the cyclicality of schooling: theory and evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 148-172, January.
    2. Josep Pijoan-Mas & Virginia Sanchez-Marcos, 2010. "Spain is Different: Falling Trends of Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 154-178, January.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & Prashant Bharadwaj & Fabian Lange, 2012. "Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 783-828.
    4. Charles T. Clotfelter & Michael Rothschild, 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot93-1, June.
    5. Magali Beffy & Denis Fougère & Arnaud Maurel, 2012. "Choosing the Field of Study in Postsecondary Education: Do Expected Earnings Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 334-347, February.
    6. Pedro Carneiro & Sokbae Lee, 2011. "Trends in Quality-Adjusted Skill Premia in the United States, 1960-2000," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2309-2349, October.
    7. Florentino Felgueroso & Manuel Hidalgo & SergiJiménez Martín, 2010. "Explaining the fall of the skill wage premium in Spain," Working Papers 2010-19, FEDEA.
    8. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
    9. Ainhoa Aparicio, 2010. "High-School Dropouts and Transitory Labor Market Shocks: The Case of the Spanish Housing Boom," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 158, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stéphane Bonhomme & Laura Hospido, 2012. "The cycle of earnings inequality: evidence from Spanish social security data," Working Papers 1225, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    2. Florentino Felgueroso & Maria Gutiérrez-Domènech & Sergi Jiménez-Martín, 2014. "Dropout trends and educational reforms: the role of the LOGSE in Spain," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-24, December.
    3. Ignacio García Pérez, J. & Osuna, Victoria, 2014. "Dual labour markets and the tenure distribution: Reducing severance pay or introducing a single contract," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Jose Maria Casado, 2012. "Consumption partial insurance of Spanish households," Working Papers 1214, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Collective bargaining; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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