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Wage inequality and overeducation in a model with efficiency wages

  • Peter Skott


    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

This paper shows that the existence and persistence of ‘overeducation’ can be explained by an extension of the efficiency wage model. When calibrated to fit the amounts of overeducation found in most empirical studies, the model implies that both the relative wage and the relative employment rate of high-skill workers depend inversely on aggregate economic activity. Keeping aggregate employment constant, furthermore, low-skill unemployment rises following an increase in the relative supply of high-skill labor, and relative wages may be insensitive to changes in relative labor supplies. The model may help explain rising wage inequality in some countries since the early 1970s. JEL Categories: J31

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Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2005-06.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2005-06
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  1. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," Working Papers 734, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  7. Hersch, Joni, 1991. "Education Match and Job Match," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 140-44, February.
  8. Marco Manacorda & Peter Robinson, 1997. "Qualifications and the Labour Market in Britain: 1984-1994 Skill Biased Change in the Demand for Labour or Credentialism?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0330, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. A Felstead & D Gallie & F Green, 2000. "Computers are even more important than you thought: An Analysis of the changing skill-intensity of jobs," CEP Discussion Papers dp0439, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. ""Overeducation" in the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 101-22, April.
  11. Carmichael, Lorne, 1985. "Can Unemployment Be Involuntary? Comment [Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1213-14, December.
  12. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  13. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  14. Daly, Mary C. & Buchel, Felix & Duncan, Greg J., 2000. "Premiums and penalties for surplus and deficit education: Evidence from the United States and Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-178, April.
  15. P. J. Sloane & H. Battu & P. T. Seaman, 1999. "Overeducation, undereducation and the British labour market," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(11), pages 1437-1453.
  16. Dolton, Peter & Vignoles, Anna, 2000. "The incidence and effects of overeducation in the U.K. graduate labour market," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 179-198, April.
  17. F Green & Steven McIntosh & Anna Vignoles, 1999. "Overeducation and Skills - Clarifying the Concepts," CEP Discussion Papers dp0435, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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