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Declining returns to skill and the distribution of wages : Spain 1995-2006

Author

Listed:
  • Carrasco, Raquel
  • Jimeno, Juan F.
  • Ortega, Ana Carolina

Abstract

In contrast to the pattern observed in other developed countries, Spanish wage inequality did not increase during the period from 1995-2006. In this paper we analyse the relative role of supply and demand factors when accounting for this “atypical” fact. Because noticeable changes in both labour supply and labour demand - such as educational upgrading of the labour force, huge immigration flows, and a boom in the construction sector - took place during these years, we start by decomposing observed wage changes into changes in the composition of the labour force and changes in the prices of workers’ and jobs’ characteristics. The results indicate that the compression of the wage distribution is largely explained by a decrease in the returns to education. We also provide some evidence of the relative impact of labour supply and labour demand factors on the changes of these returns, showing that both the increase in the supply of high-skilled workers and the increasing weight of low-skilled occupations are related to the decreasing trend in the skill premium over this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Carrasco, Raquel & Jimeno, Juan F. & Ortega, Ana Carolina, 2012. "Declining returns to skill and the distribution of wages : Spain 1995-2006," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1231, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1231
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hipólito Simón & Esteban Sanromá & Raúl Ramos, 2008. "Labour segregation and immigrant and native-born wage distributions in Spain: an analysis using matched employer–employee data," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 135-168, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Raquel Carrasco & Juan Jimeno & A. Ortega, 2008. "The effect of immigration on the labor market performance of native-born workers: some evidence for Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 627-648, July.
    5. Melly, Blaise, 2005. "Decomposition of differences in distribution using quantile regression," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 577-590, August.
    6. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-458, March.
    7. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
    8. 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.
    9. Raquel Carrasco & Juan Ramón García & Ana Carolina Ortega, "undated". "The Effect of Immigration on the Employment Opportunities of Native-Born Workers: Some Evidence for Spain," Working Papers 2004-17, FEDEA.
    10. Juan Canal-Domínguez & César Rodríguez-Gutiérrez, 2008. "Analysis of wage differences between native and immigrant workers in Spain," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 109-134, June.
    11. Florentino Felgueroso & Manuel Hidalgo & SergiJiménez Martín, 2010. "Explaining the fall of the skill wage premium in Spain," Working Papers 2010-19, FEDEA.
    12. Aitor Lacuesta & Mario Izquierdo, 2012. "The contribution of changes in employment composition and relative returns to the evolution of wage inequality: the case of Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 511-543, January.
    13. Angel de la Fuente & Juan Francisco Jimeno, 2009. "The Private and Fiscal Returns to Schooling in the European Union," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1319-1360, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Verdugo, Gregory, 2014. "The great compression of the French wage structure, 1969–2008," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 131-144.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage structure;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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