NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Skill Biased Structural Change

Francisco J. Buera, Joseph P. Kaboski, Richard Rogerson

NBER Working Paper No. 21165
Issued in May 2015
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

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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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21165

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