Wage Dispersion in the 1980s: Resurrecting the Role of Trade Through the Effects of Durable Employment Changes
36 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2006
Date Written: August 1995
This paper finds that changes in durable manufacturing employment and investment in computer equipment can explain rising wage dispersion in the United States, measured in terms of the education premium. Reduced employment opportunities in durables production drive down the average wage for workers with only a high school education, thereby increasing the wage premium for college education. An innovation in this paper is the inclusion of investment in equipment as a proxy for skill-biased technical change. The rise in the technical skill premium could alone explain all of the rise in the college premium since 1979 were there no offsetting effects.
JEL Classification: J30, J31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation