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

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  • Richard B. Freeman
  • Ronald Schettkat

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "The Role of Wage and Skill Differences in US-German Employment Differences," NBER Working Papers 7474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7474
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 302-308, May.
    2. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Franz, Wolfgang, 1997. "Flexibilität der qualifikatorischen Lohnstruktur und Lastverteilung der Arbeitslosigkeit: Eine ökonometrische Analyse für Westdeutschland," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-32, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Siebert, Horst, 1997. "Labor market rigidities and unemployment in Europe," Kiel Working Papers 787, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "Low Wage Services: Interpreting the US - German Difference," NBER Working Papers 7611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2007. "Labor market institutions and demographic employment patterns," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 833-867, October.
    2. Puhani, Patrick A., 2001. "Wage rigidities in Western Germany? Microeconometric evidence from the 1990s," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-36, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Bonatti, Luigi, 2002. "The effects of wage compression on unemployment and on the intersectoral distribution of employment: a dynamic model," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 127-144, June.
    4. Prasad, Eswar, 2003. "What Determines the Reservation Wages of Unemployed Workers? New Evidence from German Micro Data," IZA Discussion Papers 694, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Jana Kremer, 2001. "Labor Unions, Unemployment, and Inequality in an OLG-Model with Heterogeneous Agents," Discussion Paper Series 207, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
    6. Robbins, Donald J., 2003. "The impact of trade liberalization upon inequality in developing countries : a review of theory and evidence," ILO Working Papers 993650553402676, International Labour Organization.
    7. Birgit Jakob, 2003. "Skilled labor spillovers from University to High Tech Corporations: The Case of the Research Triangle Park and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill," NEURUS papers neurusp4, NEURUS - Network of European and US Regional and Urban Studies.
    8. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 184-193, February.
    9. Jurajda, Stepan & Harmgart, Heike, 2007. "When do female occupations pay more?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 170-187, March.
    10. Bertola, Giuseppe & Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labour Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3023, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Lawrence Kahn, 2003. "Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment in OECD Countries," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(4), pages 25-32, October.
    12. Enswar Prasad, 2001. "The Dynamics of Reservation Wages: Preliminary Evidence from the GSOEP," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(1), pages 44-50.
    13. Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "Is the U.S. Labor Market the Model for Advanced Countries?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(s1), pages 187-200, July.
    14. repec:ilo:ilowps:365055 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Peter Mühlau & Justine Horgan, 2001. "Labour Market Status and the Wage Position of the Low-Skilled: The Role of Institutions and of Demand and Supply. Evidence from the Adult Literacy Survey," LoWER Working Papers wp5, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    16. Muysken, Joan & Zwick, Thomas, 2000. "Wage divergence and unemployment: the impact of insider power and training costs," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-37, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    17. Jurajda, Štepán & Harmgart, Heike, 2004. "When Are ‘Female’ Occupations Paying More?," IZA Discussion Papers 985, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Luigi Bonatti, 2000. "A two-sector model of the effects of wage compression on unemployment and industry distribution of employment," Department of Economics Working Papers 0001, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    19. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2002. "Sozialhilfe im wettbewerblichen Föderalismus: Erfahrungen der USA, Lehren für Deutschland," Discussion Paper Series 58, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    20. Paul Beaudry & David Green, 2000. "The Changing Structure of Wages in the US and Germany: What Explains the Differences?," NBER Working Papers 7697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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