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The Role of Wage and Skill Differences in US-German Employment Differences

  • Richard B. Freeman
  • Ronald Schettkat

Greater job creation in the US than in Germany has often been related to greater wage dispersion coupled with less regulated labour and product markets in the US. Based on the Comparative German American Structural Database and the International Adult Literacy Survey we find that employment of skilled to unskilled labour is unrelated to differences in skill premium but that changes in relative employment are related to changes in relative wages raising the possibility of some substitution behavior. Still, the differing dispersion of wages is not a major contributor to differences in employment rates. The jobs problem in Germany is one of a general lack in demand for labor.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7474.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7474.

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Date of creation: Jan 2000
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), vol. 219/1-2 (July 1999): 49-66
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7474
Note: LS
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  1. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "Low Wage Services: Interpreting the US - German Difference," NBER Working Papers 7611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
  3. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
  4. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Franz, Wolfgang, 1997. "Flexibilität der qualifikatorischen Lohnstruktur und Lastverteilung der Arbeitslosigkeit: Eine ökonometrische Analyse für Westdeutschland," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-32, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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