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Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market


  • Machin, Steve


In this paper I document changes in the distribution of employment in the UK labour market in the 1980s. I use two longitudinal data sources, an industry-level panel data set between 1979 and 1990, and the panel component of the 1984 and 1990 establishment-level Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys. There is evidence of a considerable shift towards the increased relative use of what may be termed more skilled labour (i.e. towards non-manual work, away from manual work and towards more highly-educated labour). This seems to be principally driven by within-industry and establishment factors rather than by industry/establishment shifts in product demand. There is some support for the notion that manual employment saving changes, perhaps due to the increased use of computer technology and/or innovation, are of empirical importance.

Suggested Citation

  • Machin, Steve, 1994. "Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:952

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roland, Gerard & Verdier, Thierry, 1994. "Privatization in Eastern Europe : Irreversibility and critical mass effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 161-183, June.
    2. Dewatripont, Mathias & Roland, Gerard, 1995. "The Design of Reform Packages under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1207-1223, December.
    3. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1992. "The Transition to a Market Economy: Pitfalls of Partial Reform," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 889-906.
    4. Dewatripont, M & Roland, G, 1992. "The Virtues of Gradualism and Legitimacy in the Transition to a Market Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(411), pages 291-300, March.
    5. Roland, Gerard, 1994. "On the Speed and Sequencing of Privatisation and Restructuring," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(426), pages 1158-1168, September.
    6. Mathias Dewatripont, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/175991, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. M. Dewatripont & G. Roland, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 703-730.
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    More about this item


    Computer Use; Employment Composition; Innovation; R&D Intensity;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General


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