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Trading Up and the Skill Premium

Nir Jaimovich, Sergio Rebelo, Arlene Wong, Miao Ben Zhang

Chapter in NBER book NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2019, volume 34 (2020), Martin S. Eichenbaum, Erik Hurst, and Jonathan A. Parker, editors (p. 285 - 316)
Conference held April 11-12, 2019
Published in March 2020 by University of Chicago Press
© 2020 by the National Bureau of Economic Research
in Macroeconomics Annual Book Series

We study the impact on the skill premium of increases in the quality of goods consumed by households (“trading up”). Our empirical work shows that high- quality goods are more intensive in skilled labor than low-quality goods and that household spending on high-quality goods rises with income. We propose a model consistent with these facts. This model accounts for the past rise in the skill premium with more plausible rates of skill-biased technical change than those required by the canonical model. It also implies that an expansion of the skilled labor force reduces the skill premium by much less than in the canonical model.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1086/707185

This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w25931, Trading Up and the Skill Premium, Nir Jaimovich, Sergio Rebelo, Arlene Wong, Miao Ben Zhang
Commentary on this chapter:
  Comment, Daron Acemoglu
  Comment, Jonathan Vogel
 
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