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Relative Demand for Skills in Swedish Manufacturing: Technology or Trade?


  • Hansson, Pär

    (Trade Union Institute for Economic Research)


The rate of change in the share of skilled labor has increased steadily over the past 35 years in Swedish manufacturing. A closer inspection of the period after 1970 indicates that while relative supply changes of skilled labor seem to have been the main driving force behind the growing skill shares in manufacturing industries over the period 1970-85, an acceleration in the relative demand for skills appears to have propelled higher skill shares during the late 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s. Consistent with such a development is the finding of an increasing degree of complementarity between knowledge capital and skilled labor and that Swedish manufacturing firms, in recent years, have invested heavily in R&D. There is also some support for the belief that intensified competition from the South has increased the relative demand for skilled labor. However, the impact appears to be small and concentrated to the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s.

Suggested Citation

  • Hansson, Pär, 1999. "Relative Demand for Skills in Swedish Manufacturing: Technology or Trade?," Working Paper Series 152, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:fiefwp:0152

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Arai, Mahmood & Thoursie, Peter Skogman, 2005. "Incentives and selection in cyclical absenteeism," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 269-280, April.
    2. Rosario Crinò, 2007. "Offshoring, Multinationals and Labor Market: A Review of the Empirical Literature," KITeS Working Papers 196, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jan 2007.
    3. Ekholm, Karolina & Hakkala, Katariina, 2005. "The Effect of Offshoring on Labor Demand: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 654, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Matthew J. Lindquist, 2005. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality in Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 711-735, December.
    5. Carsten Ochsen, 2006. "Zukunft der Arbeit und Arbeit der Zukunft in Deutschland," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(2), pages 173-193, May.
    6. Roger Bandick & Pär Hansson, 2009. "Inward FDI and demand for skills in manufacturing firms in Sweden," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 145(1), pages 111-131, April.
    7. Linda Andersson, 2001. "Openness and total factor productivity in Swedish manufacturing, 1980–1995," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 137(4), pages 690-713, December.
    8. Gagliardi, Luisa & Iammarino, Simona & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2015. "Offshoring and the Geography of Jobs in Great Britain," CEPR Discussion Papers 10855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Svaleryd, helena, 2005. "Do Entrenched Managers Pay Their Workers More?," Working Paper Series 654, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    10. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter & Lundborg, Per, 2000. "Trade, Earnings, and Mobility - Swedish Evidence," Working Paper Series 163, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Hansson, Pär, 2001. "Skill Upgrading and Production Transfer within Swedish Multinationals in the 1990s," Working Paper Series 166, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Yamashita, Nobuaki, 2008. "The impact of production fragmentation on skill upgrading: New evidence from Japanese manufacturing," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 545-565, December.
    13. Bandick, Roger & Hansson, Pär, 2005. "Inward FDI and demand for skills in Sweden," Working Papers 2005:10, Örebro University, School of Business.
    14. Yamashita, Nobuaki & Fukao, Kyoji, 2010. "Expansion abroad and jobs at home: Evidence from Japanese multinational enterprises," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 88-97, March.
    15. Oscarsson, Eva, 2000. "Trade, Employment and Wages in Sweden 1975-93," Research Papers in Economics 2000:8, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    16. Robert Anderton & Paul Brenton & Eva Oscarsson, 2002. "What’s trade got to do with it? Relative demand for skills within Swedish manufacturing," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 138(4), pages 629-651, December.
    17. Yamashita, Nobuaki, 2017. "The People’s Republic of China’s Import Competition and Skill Demand in Japanese Manufacturing," ADBI Working Papers 644, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    18. Gustavsson, Magnus, 2004. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings: Evidence from Sweden 1960-1990 and a Comparison with the United States," Working Paper Series 2004:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    19. Erik Mellander, 2000. "The Multi-Dimensional Nature of Labor Demand and Skill-Biased Technical Change," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0671, Econometric Society.
    20. Eva, MORENO GALBIS, 2002. "Changes in the skill structure of the labour force. An empirical application to the Spanish case," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2002035, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    21. Strauss, Tove, 2000. "Economic Reforms and the Poor," Working Paper Series 164, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    22. Mellander, Erik, 1999. "The multi-dimensional nature of labor demand and skill-biased technical change," Working Paper Series 1999:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    23. Devadason, Evelyn, 2007. "Do Trading Partners Matter for Labour Market Inequality? The Malaysian Case," Review of Applied Economics, Review of Applied Economics, vol. 3(1-2).
    24. Strauss, Tove, 2000. "Structural Reforms, Uncertainty, and Private Investment," Working Paper Series 165, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Skill upgrading; Knowledge capital; Import competition; Outsourcing;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • 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

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