Have the relative employment prospects for the low-skilled deteriorated after all?
Has the relative unemployment propensity for the low-skilled increased during the 1990’s? We address this question empirically, based on two notions of ‘low skills’; i) low education, and ii) low ability, conditioned on education and work experience. Ability is identified by previous earnings. Evaluated by the education-based measure, we find that unemployment propensity has not developed unfavourably for the low-skilled. Evaluated by the ability-based measure, it has. We uncover a steady deterioration of employment prospects for persons with low ability relative to others with similar formal qualifications. The adverse employment effects of being low-skilled are stronger the higher is formal education. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2004
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