Skill Shortages, Productivity Growth and Wage Inflation in UK Manufacturing
We estimate the impact of skilled and unskilled labour shortages on productivity and wages in the United Kingdom. Skill shortages are higher on average and more variable over the business cycle in the United Kingdom than in comparable economies. Unskilled shortages are comparatively rare, so most of our work concentrates on skill shortages. The bulk of evidence suggests that shortages are related to educational attainment rather than the failure of firms to adjust wages. There are two potential effects of shortages on productivity. First, we argue that shortages add to the cost of employing skilled workers since a firm must wait longer than usual to fill its vacancies. This may lead firms to employ less skilled and more unskilled workers. Second, labour shortages make it less easy for firms to extract effort from their workers. Both of these effects reduce productivity. We provide empirical evidence from two panel data sets of UK manufacturing from 1980-89. We use data from 81 manufacturing industries and also from 33 engineering industries where there is better information on the skill composition of the workforce. Both data sets suggest that the growth of skill shortages in the 1980s reduced productivity growth by about 0.4% per annum (average productivity growth was 5% per annum). Unskilled shortages had no effect. Finally labour shortages might increase nominal wage growth by putting workers in a stronger bargaining position. Both our data sets suggest that skill shortages raised wage growth over the period by about 1% per annum (average wage growth was 7%).
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|Date of creation:||Nov 1993|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:859. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.