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Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework

Sebastian Galiani, Guillermo Cruces, Pablo Acosta, Leonardo C. Gasparini

NBER Working Paper No. 24015
Issued in November 2017
NBER Program(s):Development Economics Program

This paper documents the evolution of wage differentials and the supply of workers by educational level for sixteen Latin American countries over the period 1991-2013. We find a pattern of rather constant rise in the relative supply of skilled and semi-skilled workers over the period. Whereas the returns to secondary education fell over time, in contrast, the returns to tertiary education display a remarkable changing pattern common to almost all economies: significant increase in the 1990s, strong fall in the 2000s and a deceleration of that fall in the 2010s. We conclude that supply-side factors seem to have limited explanatory power relative to demand-side factors in accounting for changes in the wage gap between workers with tertiary education and the rest.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24015

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