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

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Listed:
  • 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. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    2. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    3. 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.
    4. Cord, Louise & Barriga Cabanillas, Oscar & Lucchetti, Leonardo & Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos & Sousa, Liliana D. & Valderrama, Daniel, 2014. "Inequality stagnation in Latin America in the aftermath of the global financial crisis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7146, The World Bank.
    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, pages 793-812.
    9. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, 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," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 147-201, January.
    12. Pablo Acosta & Gabriel V. Montes-Rojas, 2008. "Trade Reform and Inequality: The Case of Mexico and Argentina in the 1990s," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(6), pages 763-780, June.
    13. Gabriel Montes Rojas, 2006. "Skill premia in Mexico: demand and supply factors," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(14), pages 917-924.
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    JEL classification:

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

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