Skill Biased Structural Change
33 Pages Posted: 18 May 2015 Last revised: 30 May 2015
Date Written: May 2015
We document for a broad panel of advanced economies that increases in GDP per capita are associated with a shift in the composition of value added to sectors that are intensive in high-skill labor. It follows that further development in these economies leads to an increase in the relative demand for skilled labor. We develop a two-sector model of this process and use it to assess the contribution of this process of skill-biased structural change to the rise of the skill premium in the US, and a broad panel of advanced economies, over the period 1977 to 2005. We find that these compositional demands account for between 25 and 30% of the overall increase of the skill premium due to technical change.
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