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Overeducation, Job Competition and Unemployment

  • Muysken Joan
  • Weel Bas ter

    (MERIT)

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    The changing wage and employment structure in some OECD countries has beenattributed to increased levels of education and technical change in favour of skilledworkers. However, in the Netherlands and some other OECD countries the wages ofskilled workers did not rise, whereas investment in skills rose dramatically. This paperoffers a theory which is able to explain the dramatic increase in the level of education andskills without rising wages since the early 1980s. In this respect, we integrate the supplyside framework (human capital investments) and the demand side (containingendogenous skill upgrading as a result of job competition and screening) in a generalequilibrium model. In this way we provide a theory for the empirical observation ofrising unemployment levels among unskilled workers and rising employment levels ofskilled workers with relatively stable wages.

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    Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series Research Memorandum with number 030.

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    Date of creation: 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:unm:umamer:1999030
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    Web page: http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/

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    2. Madsen, Jakob B, 1998. "General Equilibrium Macroeconomic Models of Unemployment: Can They Explain the Unemployment Path in the OECD?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 850-67, May.
    3. Steven G. Allen, 1996. "Technology and the Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 5534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
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    8. Sanders Mark & Weel Bas ter, 2000. "Skill-Biased Technical Change: Theoretical Concepts, Empirical Problems and a Survey of the Evidence," Research Memorandum 012, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    9. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
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    13. Sarantis, Nicholas, 1993. "Distribution, Aggregate Demand and Unemployment in OECD Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(417), pages 459-67, March.
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    15. Acemoglu, D., 1996. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," Working papers 96-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    16. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Diamond, Peter, 1992. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 354-59, May.
    17. Wasmer, Etienne, 1999. "Competition for Jobs in a Growing Economy and the Emergence of Dualism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 349-71, July.
    18. Pissarides, C A, 1979. "Job Matchings with State Employment Agencies and Random Search," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(356), pages 818-33, December.
    19. Phelps, Edmund S & Zoega, Gylfi, 1998. "Natural-Rate Theory and OECD Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 782-801, May.
    20. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
    21. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
    22. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1992. "Search Unemployment with on-the-job Search," CEP Discussion Papers dp0074, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    24. Robert H. Topel, 1997. "Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 55-74, Spring.
    25. Carlin, Wendy & Soskice, David, 1990. "Macroeconomics and the Wage Bargain: A Modern Approach to Employment, Inflation, and the Exchange Rate," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198772446, March.
    26. Donald R. Davis & Trevor A. Reeve, 1997. "Human Capital, Unemployment and Relative Wages in a Global Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1804, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    27. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen, 1986. "Unemployment in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S121-69, Supplemen.
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