Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/160968
Authors: 
Acemoglu, Daron
Year of Publication: 
2002
Series/Report no.: 
LIS Working Paper Series 296
Abstract: 
The economics profession has made considerable progress in understanding the increase in wage inequality in the U.S. and the UK over the past several decades, but currently lacks a consensus on why inequality did not increase, or increased much less, in (continental) Europe over the same time period. I review the two most popular explanations for these differential trends: that relative supply of skills increased faster in Europe, and that European labor market institutions prevented inequality from increasing. I argue that these two explanations go some way towards accounting for the differential cross-country inequality trends, but do not provide an entirely satisfactory explanation. In addition, it appears that relative demand for skills increased differentially across countries. Motivated by this reasoning, I develop a simple theory where labor market institutions creating wage compression in Europe also encourage more investment in technologies increasing the productivity of less-skilled workers, thus implying less skill-biased technical change in Europe than in the U.S.
Document Type: 
Working Paper
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