Skill Intensity Reversal and the Rising Skill Premium: Evidence from the U.S. and Mexico
Rising skill premium in two countries can be explained simply by the Heckscher-Ohlin model assuming a “skill intensity reversal.” This assumption, however, poses an empirical challenge since past research has found little evidence for the so-called “factor intensity reversal.” We now show clear-cut evidence: U.S. net exports to Mexico of electronics products, which were high-skill intensive in the U.S. but low-skill intensive in Mexico, increased from 1994 to 2000. U.S. net imports from Mexico of non-electronics products, which were low-skill intensive in the U.S. but high-skill intensive in Mexico, increased as well. The skill premium then increased in both countries.
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