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Measuring Skill Intensity of Occupations with Imperfect Substitutability Across Skill Types

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  • Barbara Pertold-Gebicka

Abstract

In absence of a model-based measure of occupational skill-intensity, the litera- ture on wage inequality cannot consistently track technological progress on occu- pational level - a key ingredient of recent theories of labor market polarization. In this paper, I use the March CPS data from 1983 to 2002 to estimate such a measure corresponding to occupation-specific relative productivities of college and high-school educated. With imperfect substitution across skill types, the measure- ment of relative productivities requires estimation of substitution elasticities, and I propose a simple strategy to obtain these. The resulting measure is used to shed light on the modified skill-biased technological change hypothesis proposed by Autor et al. (2006).

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara Pertold-Gebicka, 2010. "Measuring Skill Intensity of Occupations with Imperfect Substitutability Across Skill Types," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp421, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp421
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    5. Peter B. Meyer & Anastasiya M. Osborne, 2005. "Proposed Category System for 1960-2000 Census Occupations," Working Papers 383, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    6. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    7. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
    8. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 189-194, May.
    9. Peter Gottschalk & Michael Hansen, 2003. "Is the Proportion of College Workers in Noncollege Jobs Increasing?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 409-448, April.
    10. Firpo, Sergio & Fortin, Nicole M. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2011. "Occupational Tasks and Changes in the Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 5542, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    12. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
    13. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    14. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
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    17. Jeff Larrimore & Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Laura Zayatz, 2008. "Consistent Cell Means for Topcoded Incomes in the Public Use March CPS (1976-2007)," NBER Working Papers 13941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    occupations; skill-intensity; skill content; elasticity of labor substitu- tion; technological progress; polarization;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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