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Skilled Labor in the Classical tradition

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  • Anwar Shaikh

    () (Department of Economics, New School for Social Research)

Abstract

The treatment of skills has always been a problem within the classical tradition. Smith, Ricardo and Marx explicitly note that labor of different qualities must be reduced to a common standard. On the argument that relative wages largely reflect the qualitative differences among types of labor, they all propose to use relative wages as proxies for qualities. Smith identifies two sets of factors underlying relative wages: those specific to the type of employment itself, and those arising from political interventions. The former case in turn contains compensation for the pleasantness or unpleasantness of the type of work, its risk and volatility, its required degree of trust, and the difficulty and cost of acquiring the necessary skills. This paper focuses on the skill issue alone in order to compare it to the orthodox notion of human capital as a principal factor in the determination of relative wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Anwar Shaikh, 2018. "Skilled Labor in the Classical tradition," Working Papers 1801, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:new:wpaper:1801
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    File URL: http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/econ/2018/NSSR_WP_012018.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ochoa, Eduardo M, 1989. "Values, Prices, and Wage-Profit Curves in the U.S. Economy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 413-429, September.
    2. Lefteris Tsoulfidis, 2002. "Values, prices of production and market prices: some more evidence from the Greek economy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 359-369, May.
    3. Bienenfeld, Mel, 1988. "Regularity in Price Changes as an Effect of Changes in Distribution," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 247-255, June.
    4. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    5. Lefteris Tsoulfidis, 2008. "Price-value deviations: further evidence from input-output data of Japan," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(6), pages 707-724.
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    Keywords

    Skilled labor; Classical economics;

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