NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Ana Danieli

Northwestern University
2211 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL 60208

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Northwestern University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2020Income-driven Labor Market Polarization
with Diego A. Comin, Martí Mestieri: w27455
We propose a mechanism for labor-market polarization based on the nonhomotheticity of demand that we call the income-driven channel. Our mechanism builds on a novel empirical fact: expenditure elasticities and production intensities in low- and high-skill occupations are positively correlated across sectors. Thus, as income grows, demand shifts towards expenditure-elastic sectors, and the relative demand for low- and high-skill occupations increases, causing labor-market polarization. A calibrated general-equilibrium model suggests this mechanism accounts for 90% and 35% of the increase in the wage-bill share of low- and high-skill occupations observed in the US during 1980-2016, and for 64% and 28% of the rise in the employment shares of low- and high-skill occupations. This mechanism is ...
 
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