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The "New Growth Model". How and with Whom?

  • Florentino Felgueroso
  • Sergi Jiménez Martín

After the early 90s crisis, Spain had a long period of prosperity that ended abruptly with the recent global crisis. What many did not realized is that Spain, by following a different growth trajectory than a majority of the EU15 countries, was choosing a wrong detour. In this paper, we argue that the growth path chosen in early 90s lead to a wrong accumulation of human capital and technological skills in order to adopt ICT technologies. The adverse demographic structure (the significant decrease in the size of the young cohorts), the dual composition of the population by educational levels (high share of people with low and high educational attainment, and a very low share of medium attainment) and the huge and rapid increase of female participation rates have been key factors in this process. In particular, and in contrast with a majority of the EU15 countries, dropout rates and computer illiteracy have remain high, favoring growth in low skills low productivity sectors and hurting employment opportunities in knowledge intensive sectors. Moreover, the lack of people with medium educational attainment has also been responsible for a growing mismatch of the high-educated population. The recent crisis has to be viewed as an opportunity to get back to the correct growth track, by reducing incentives to dropout and by favoring skill adjustment. Targeted schooling (to reduce dropout) and training (to increase ICT literacy of medium age and older cohorts) should be priority policies aimed at increasing productivity in the old sectors, creating employment in intensive ICT services sectors and covering the huge gap in professional and technicians in comparison to other EU15 countries. However, some factors that have slowed the adoption of new technologies in the recent past will persist in the coming decade. In particular, the significant decrease of the cohorts of young entrants and the educational path dependencies should continue to act as resilience factors to implement the reforms required to stimulate the change in the growth model. Furthermore, the permanent mismatch of the most abundant university cohorts (those who graduated around the mid-90s), also constitutes a brake on change, given the drastic decline in new graduates in the near future. Thus, policies focused on young second-generation of immigrants and incentives to the entry of skilled immigrants should also be considered.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2009-39.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2009-39
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  1. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mas, Matilde & Milana, Carlo & Serrano, Lorenzo, 2008. "Spain and Italy: Catching up and falling behind. Two different tales of productivity slowdown," MPRA Paper 15834, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2008.
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  4. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Dolado, Juan J. & Felgueroso, Florentino, 2008. "Occupational Mismatch and Moonlighting Among Spanish Physicians: Do Couples Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6803, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "Experience and Technology Adoption," IZA Discussion Papers 1051, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  10. Roberto M. Samaniego, 2006. "Employment Protection and High-Tech Aversion," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 224-241, April.
  11. Robert Shimer, 1999. "The Impact of Young Workers on the Aggregate Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dolado, Juan J. & Felgueroso, Florentino & Jimeno, Juan F., 2000. "Explaining Youth Labor Market Problems in Spain: Crowding-Out, Institutions, or Technology Shifts?," IZA Discussion Papers 142, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Inklaar, Robert & Timmer, Marcel P., 2008. "GGDC Productivity Level Database: International Comparisons of Output, Inputs and Productivity at the Industry Level," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-104, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  14. van Ark, Bart & Inklaar, Robert, 2006. "Catching up or getting stuck? Europe's troubles to exploit ICT's productivity potential," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-79, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
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