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Skill-biased technological change, international trade and the wage structure

  • Arnd Kölling

    ()

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))

  • Thorsten Schank

    ()

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))

During the last two decades, the labour demand structure in Germany and other OECD countries has experienced a decrease in the demand for low skilled and a rise in the demand for highly skilled employees. The adoption of modern technologies in the production process as well as the growth of international trade are often regarded as the main driving factors behind this change. On the other hand, it is often argued that a more flexible wage structure could counteract the falling demand for the unskilled. This study investigates these hypothesis for West Germany, 1994-1997, using the LIAB, a unique German linked employer-employee panel data set, which combines information from the German employment statistics and the IAB establishment panel. Employing a Generalised Leontief cost function and controlling for unobserved plant heterogeneity, the demand for three different skill types of labour is estimated by the SUR-Method. The results show that the major part of the skill structure is determined by wages, while we have found only minor impacts of a skill-biased technological change, of international trade and of short-run effects due to the business cycle.

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Paper provided by International Conferences on Panel Data in its series 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 with number B1-3.

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Date of creation: Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpd:pd2002:b1-3
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