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Economic Opening and the Demand for Skills in Developing Countries: A Review of Theory and Evidence

  • David O’Connor
  • Maria Rosa Lunati
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    A basic feature of development dynamics is the reallocation of labour from low– productivity to higher–productivity activities (generally more capital–intensive and also often more skill–intensive). The expansion of skilled labour supply that accompanies rising per capita incomes is both cause and effect of this shift in skills demand. Over long periods, if skills supply and demand grow apace, skill premia would show little secular change; over shorter periods, however, inevitable lags may show up as growing or shrinking premia. A policy reform like trade liberalisation can accelerate structural change in an economy, causing an exogenous shift in relative factor demands. For some developing countries, the result may be an increase in skills demand associated with the adoption of newly available foreign technology and lower cost imported capital goods. This demand shift may be permanent or only temporary, but in either case the skills supply should eventually increase in response to ... La dynamique du développement entraîne une réaffectation de la main–d’œuvre d’activités à faible productivité vers des activités à productivité plus élevée (généralement plus intensives en capital et exigeant le plus souvent des compétences supérieures). L’accroissement de l’offre de main–d’œuvre qualifiée qui accompagne la hausse des revenus par habitant est à la fois cause et conséquence de cette évolution de la demande de compétences. Sur la longue durée, si l’offre et la demande de compétences progressent à un rythme comparable, le revenu supplémentaire associé aux qualifications reste stable. Mais sur des périodes plus courtes, les décalages inévitables entre l’offre et la demande peuvent se traduire par une hausse ou un effondrement de ce gain différentiel. Une réforme des politiques, comme la libéralisation des échanges, peut accélérer l’évolution structurelle de l’économie, influant de manière exogène sur la demande relative de facteurs. Dans certains pays en développement ...

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Development Centre Working Papers with number 149.

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    Date of creation: Jun 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:149-en
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