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Wage Dispersion, Markets and Institutions: The Effects of the Boom in Education on the Wage Structure

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  • Barth, Erling

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

  • Lucifora, Claudio

    () (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effects of the boom in education on the wage structure in Europe. We use detailed information on the distribution of wages, estimated from microdata from 12 European countries from the beginning of the 1980’s to the present, to analyse the changes both between and within groups. We specify and estimate a model with supply and demand for different types of labour, as well as institutions affecting the bargained relative wage. Our results show that the boom in education closely matched the shifts in demand due to (skill biased) technological change, which in turn explains why the wage premia for education only rose moderately. We use the conditional wage spread within tertiary education, predicted from quantile log wage regressions, to investigate the hypothesis of skills erosion as a result of the large expansion in tertiary education. We find no evidence in favour of the hypothesis that the boom in higher education lead to an erosion of skills within the group of tertiary education, nor evidence of increasing “over-education” in Europe. Labour market institutions also matter: bargaining co-ordination and employment protection are shown to have a compressing effect on wages, but at different points of the wage distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Barth, Erling & Lucifora, Claudio, 2006. "Wage Dispersion, Markets and Institutions: The Effects of the Boom in Education on the Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 2181, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2181
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813224919_0012 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Fairness, Trade, and Inequality," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 12, pages 339-380 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. Catia Montagna & Antonella Nocco, 2013. "Unionization, international integration, and selection," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(1), pages 23-45, February.
    4. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813224919_0010 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Fabio Clementi & Michele Giammatteo, 2012. "The labour market and the distribution of income: an empirical analysis for Italy," Working Papers 42-2012, Macerata University, Department of Studies on Economic Development (DiSSE), revised Jul 2014.
    6. Paolo Naticchioni & Andrea Ricci & Emiliano Rustichelli, 2007. "Wage Structure, Inequality And Skill-Biased Change: Is Italy An Outlier?," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 38/2007, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
    7. Egger, Hartmut & Etzel, Daniel, 2012. "The impact of trade on employment, welfare, and income distribution in unionized general oligopolistic equilibrium," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1119-1135.
    8. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2010. "Worker-specific Effects of Globalisation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(8), pages 987-1005, August.
    9. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labor Market Effects of Trade Liberalization," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 10, pages 265-306 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Paolo Naticchioni & Andrea Ricci & Emiliano Rustichelli, 2008. "Wage Inequality, Employment Structure and Skill-biased Change in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(s1), pages 27-51, June.
    11. Longhi, Simonetta & Brynin, Malcolm, 2007. "Job competition amongst university graduates," ISER Working Paper Series 2007-18, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    12. Polat, Sezgin, 2016. "Some Economic Consequences of Higher Education Expansion in Turkey," MPRA Paper 72602, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Erling Barth & Bernt Bratsberg & Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2008. "Performance Pay and Within-Firm Wage Inequality," Discussion Papers 535, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    14. Martina Mysikova & Jiri Vecernik, 2015. "Returns to education in transition and advanced European countries: The role of an expansion of higher education," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 10,in: Marta Rahona López & Jennifer Graves (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 10, edition 1, volume 10, chapter 44, pages 865-886 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    15. Elena Crivellaro, 2014. "College wage premium over time: trends in Europe in the last 15 years," Working Papers 2014:03, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    16. Longhi, Simonetta, 2007. "On-the-job search and job competition: relevance and wage impact in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2007-06, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    17. Kolev, Alexandre. & Saget, Catherine., 2010. "Are middle-paid jobs in OECD countries disappearing? : An overview," ILO Working Papers 994567403402676, International Labour Organization.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage inequality; education; labour market institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems

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