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Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework

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  • Sebastian Galiani
  • Guillermo Cruces
  • Pablo Acosta
  • Leonardo C. Gasparini

Abstract

This paper documents the evolution of wage differentials and the supply of workers by educational level for sixteen Latin American countries over the period 1991-2013. We find a pattern of rather constant rise in the relative supply of skilled and semi-skilled workers over the period. Whereas the returns to secondary education fell over time, in contrast, the returns to tertiary education display a remarkable changing pattern common to almost all economies: significant increase in the 1990s, strong fall in the 2000s and a deceleration of that fall in the 2010s. We conclude that supply-side factors seem to have limited explanatory power relative to demand-side factors in accounting for changes in the wage gap between workers with tertiary education and the rest.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Galiani & Guillermo Cruces & Pablo Acosta & Leonardo C. Gasparini, 2017. "Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework," NBER Working Papers 24015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Louise Cord & Oscar Barriga†Cabanillas & Leonardo Lucchetti & Carlos Rodríguez†Castelán & Liliana D. Sousa & Daniel Valderrama, 2017. "Inequality Stagnation in Latin America in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 157-181, February.
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    4. Marco Manacorda & Carolina Sanchez-Paramo & Norbert Schady, 2010. "Changes in Returns to Education in Latin America: The Role of Demand and Supply of Skills," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 307-326, January.
    5. Javier Alejo & Marcelo Bérgolo & Fedora Carbajal, 2013. "Las Transferencias Públicas y su impacto distributivo: La Experiencia de los Países del Cono Sur en la década de 2000," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0141, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    6. Azevedo, Joao Pedro & Inchauste, Gabriela & Sanfelice, Viviane, 2013. "Decomposing the recent inequality decline in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6715, The World Bank.
    7. Gallego, Francisco A., 2012. "Skill Premium in Chile: Studying Skill Upgrading in the South," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 594-609.
    8. Pablo Acosta & Leonardo Gasparini, 2007. "Capital Accumulation, Trade Liberalization, and Rising Wage Inequality: The Case of Argentina," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 793-812, July.
    9. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 12, pages 1043-1171, Elsevier.
    10. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    11. Leonardo Gasparini & Guillero Cruces & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2011. "Recent Trends In Income Inequality In Latin America," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 147-201, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fernández, Manuel & Messina, Julián, 2018. "Skill premium, labor supply, and changes in the structure of wages in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 555-573.
    2. Sam Jones & Thomas Pave Sohnesen & Neda Trifkovi?, 2018. "The evolution of private returns to education during post-conflict transformation: Evidence from Mozambique," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-143, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Sam Jones & Neda Trifkovic & Thomas Sohnesen, 2018. "The evolution of private returns to education during post-conflict transformation: Evidence from Mozambique," WIDER Working Paper Series 143, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. David Kunst & Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2020. "Occupational Skill Premia around the World: New Data, Patterns and Drivers," NBER Working Papers 26863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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