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Skill Upgrading and Rigid Relative Wages: The Case of Danish Manufacturing

Author

Listed:
  • Skaksen, Jan Rose

    () (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit)

  • Sorensen, Anders

    () (CEBR, Copenhagen)

Abstract

Relative wages have been remarkably rigid for the last two decades in Danish manufacturing despite large shifts in relative employment from unskilled labor towards skilled and educated labor. Assuming capital-skill complementarity and fixed relative wages as a consequence of labor market institutions, we argue that skill upgrading is more pronounced during downturns than upturns. This prediction is supported by a high positive and significant correlation between changes in relative employment of skilled labor and changes in the unemployment rate. Furthermore, we show that international outsourcing has played an important role in explaining the shift in relative labor demand.

Suggested Citation

  • Skaksen, Jan Rose & Sorensen, Anders, 2002. "Skill Upgrading and Rigid Relative Wages: The Case of Danish Manufacturing," IZA Discussion Papers 664, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp664
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 121-149, February.
    2. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2004. "Training in Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 346-360, 04/05.
    3. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
    4. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    5. Risager, Ole, 1993. "Labour Substitution in Denmark," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(1), pages 123-135, February.
    6. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    7. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1215-1244.
    8. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 791-836, August.
    9. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
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    Cited by:

    1. Malchow-Møller, Nikolaj & Skaksen, Jan Rose, 2003. "Skill-Biased Technological Change in Denmark: A Disaggregate Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 752, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rigid relative wages; skill upgrading; business cycle; outsourcing; skill biased technological changes;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • O39 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Other

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