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Skilled Tradable Services: The Transformation of U.S. High-Skill Labor Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Fabian Eckert
  • Sharat Ganapati
  • Conor Walsh

Abstract

We study a group of service industries that are skill-intensive, widely traded, and have recently seen explosive wage growth. Between 1980 and 2015, these ?Skilled Tradable Services? accounted for a sharply increasing share of employment among the highest earning Americans. Unlike any other sector, their wage growth was strongly biased toward the densest local labor markets and the highest paying firms. These services alone explain 30% of the increase in inequality between the 50th and 90th percentiles of the wage distribution. We offer an explanation for these patterns that highlights the complementarity between the non-rivalry of knowledge and changes in communication costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Eckert & Sharat Ganapati & Conor Walsh, 2019. "Skilled Tradable Services: The Transformation of U.S. High-Skill Labor Markets," Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers 25, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmoi:0025
    DOI: 10.21034/iwp.25
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fabian Eckert, 2019. "Growing Apart: Tradable Services and the Fragmentation of the U.S. Economy," 2019 Meeting Papers 307, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555, Elsevier.
    3. Teresa C. Fort, 2017. "Technology and Production Fragmentation: Domestic versus Foreign Sourcing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 650-687.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael J. Andrews & Aaron Chatterji & Scott Stern, 2020. "Beyond 140 Characters: Introduction to "The Role of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Economic Growth"," NBER Chapters, in: The Role of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Economic Growth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jean Imbs & Laurent L. Pauwels, 2020. "High Order Openness," Working Papers 20200047, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Jun 2020.
    3. Fabian Eckert & Teresa C. Fort & Peter K. Schott & Natalie J. Yang, 2020. "Imputing Missing Values in the US Census Bureau's County Business Patterns," NBER Working Papers 26632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sharat Ganapati, 2020. "Comment on The Servicification of the US Economy: The Role of Startups versus Incumbent Firms," NBER Chapters, in: The Role of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Economic Growth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage inequality; Skill biased; Technological change; Urban growth; Trade and geography;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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