IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Transatlantic Differences in Labour Markets: Changes in Wage and Non-Employment Structures in the 1980s and the 1990s

  • Patrick A. Puhani


Rising wage inequality in the U.S. and Britain and rising continental European unemployment have led to a popular view in the economics profession that these two phenomena are related to negative relative demand shocks against the unskilled, combined with flexible wages in the Anglo-Saxon countries, but institutional rigidities in continental Europe ('Krugman hypothesis'). This paper tests this hypothesis based on seven large person-level data sets for the 1980s and the 1990s. I use a more sophisticated categorisation of low-skilled workers than previous studies, which highlights the distinction between German workers with and without apprenticeship training. I find evidence for the Krugman hypothesis when Germany is compared to the U.S. However, supply changes differ considerably between countries, with Britain experiencing enormous increases in skill supply explaining the relatively constant British skill premium in the 1990s

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number wp762.

in new window

Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2005-762
Contact details of provider: Postal:
724 E. University Ave, Wyly Hall 1st Flr, Ann Arbor MI 48109

Phone: 734 763-5020
Fax: 734 763-5850
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Thomas Bauer & Holger Bonin & Lorenz Goette & Uwe Sunde, 2007. "Real and Nominal Wage Rigidities and the Rate of Inflation: Evidence from West German Micro Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages F508-F529, November.
  2. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bernd Fitzenberger & Aderonke Osikominu & Robert Völter, 2006. "Imputation Rules to Improve the Education Variable in the IAB Employment Subsample," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(3), pages 405-436.
  4. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881.
  5. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
  6. Rebecca M. Blank & David E. Card, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-1189.
  7. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  10. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, . "Inter-Industry and Inter-Region Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," Working Papers 9504, SELAPO Center for Human Resources.
  11. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
  12. Dominique Goux & Eric Maurin, 1998. "The Decline in Demand for Unskilled Labor : An Empirical Analysis Method and its Application to France," Working Papers 98-53, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  13. Paul R. Krugman, 1994. "Past and prospective causes of high unemployment," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 23-43.
  14. Puhani, Patrick A., 2005. "Transatlantic differences in labour markets changes in wage and non-employment structures in the 1980s and the 1990s," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 156, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.
  15. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  16. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," NBER Working Papers 8832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Leung, Siu Fai & Yu, Shihti, 1996. "On the choice between sample selection and two-part models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1-2), pages 197-229.
  18. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Business cycle fluctuations in us macroeconomic time series," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-64 Elsevier.
  19. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and changes in skill structure: evidence from seven OECD countries," IFS Working Papers W98/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  20. Thomas Cornelißen & Olaf Hübler, 2008. "Downward wage rigidity and job mobility," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 205-230, March.
  21. Peter Gottschalk & Mary Joyce, 1998. "Cross-National Differences In The Rise In Earnings Inequality: Market And Institutional Factors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 489-502, November.
  22. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
  23. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 791-836, August.
  24. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1999. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 843-877, August.
  25. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
  26. 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.
  27. John Van Reenen, 2001. "No more skivvy schemes? Active labour market policies and the British New Deal for the young unemployed in context," IFS Working Papers W01/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  28. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  29. Peter Dolton & Donal O'Neill, 2002. "The Long-Run Effects of Unemployment Monitoring and Work-Search Programs: Experimental Evidence from the United Kingdom," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 381-403, Part.
  30. Thomas Beissinger & Christoph Knoppik, 2001. "Downward Nominal Rigidity in West German Earnings, 1975-95," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(4), pages 385-417, November.
  31. Freeman, Richard & Schettkat, Ronald, 2001. "Skill Compression, Wage Differentials, and Employment: Germany vs the US," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 582-603, July.
  32. repec:sae:niesru:v:166:y::i:1:p:87-96 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. 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.
  34. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  35. Machin, Stephen, 1996. "Wage Inequality in the UK," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 47-64, Spring.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2005-762. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Laurie Gendron)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.