The development of production, prices and employment in the EU electrical industry between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s is analysed in order to test the hypothesis that the competitive pressure from low-income countries has led to the observed decline of the employment share of low-skilled workers. The direct effect of increased import competition on relative employment seems to be small, except for the case of consumer electronics. Apparently, adjustment strategies induced by globalisation pressures (e.g., investment in machinery and R&D) had a large skill bias. Structural change both between and within major subsegments of the electrical industry is analysed in more detail for the case of West Germany.
international trade employment process innovations international outsourcing capital-skill complementarity