Do People with Specific Skills Want More Social Insurance? Not in the United States
Economics & Politics. 2014. DOI: 10.1111/ecpo.12043
Posted: 31 Mar 2012 Last revised: 2 Aug 2014
Date Written: May 14, 2014
Skill specificity is thought to increase preferences for social insurance (Iversen and Soskice 2001), especially where employment protections are low, notably the United States (Gingrich and Ansell 2012). The compensating differentials literature, by contrast, suggests that neither skill specificity, nor labor market protections affect preferences when wages adjust for differences in risks and investment costs. We examine these competing predictions using US data on general and specific skills. Absolute and relative skill specificity have a robust positive correlation with income, but are negatively correlated with preferences for social protection. Our results strongly support the compensating differentials approach.
Keywords: specific skills, labor markets, social insurance, risks, preferences, wages
JEL Classification: P16, J38, J24, J68, H0, H55, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation