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The skilled U-shaped Europe: is it really and on which side does it stand?



This paper derives from a New Economic Geography model, and estimates, a quadratic sectoral real wage equation for the member countries of the enlarged EU. When significant, the real wages U-shaped curve is increasing and concave with respect to market access, but decreasing and convex with respect to access to skilled labour. Real wages in Chemicals, Wood Products, Leather Products and Textiles do not react to market access, and only those sectors with low degree of scale economies and low-skill intensity are U-shaped with respect to access to skilled labour. At the present GDP levels, EU geography is still in the divergence-inducing side of the U-curve. In addition, EU real wages are significantly determined by country-specific characteristics other than geography that push Northern real wages upward and pull Eastern real wages downward.

Suggested Citation

  • Helena Marques, 2004. "The skilled U-shaped Europe: is it really and on which side does it stand?," Discussion Paper Series 2004_06, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Mar 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:lbo:lbowps:2004_06

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    More about this item


    wage equation; labour demand; human capital; EU enlargement; market potential;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing

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