Perspectives of Workers with Low Qualifications in Germany under the Pressures of Globalization and Technical Progress
This paper gives a detailed analysis of the perspectives of workers with low qualifications in Germany under the twofold pressures of globalization and technological change. First, alter-native explanations for the skill-bias in the development of labour demand are discussed, with particular emphasis on the “trade versus technology” debate. The consequences of the demand shift away from low-skilled labour in Germany are examined in a detailed empirical analysis of the development of (un)employment problems differentiated for qualification groups. Compared to other advanced economies, Germany shows a higher unemployment rate among less-qualified workers which is generally associated with a lack of flexibility in the German wage structure. However, an analysis of German, U.S. and British wage data based on the Cross National Equivalent File (CNEF) does not confirm the assumption of a simple mono-causal relationship between wage disparity and the intensity of group-specific unemployment. Finally, some political approaches for an improvement of the job prospects of less-qualified persons in Germany are outlined briefly and evaluated against the background of the empiri-cal results.
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