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Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures

Eli Berman (), John Bound and Zvi Griliches

The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1994, vol. 109, issue 2, 367-397

Abstract: This paper investigates the shift in demand away from unskilled and toward skilled labor in U. S. manufacturing over the 1980s. Production labor-saving technological change is the chief explanation for this shift. That conclusion is based on three facts: (1) the shift is due mostly to increased use of skilled workers within the 450 industries in U. S. manufacturing rather than to a reallocation of employment between industries, as would be implied by a shift in product demand due to trade or to a defense buildup; (2) trade- and defense-demand are associated with only small employment reallocation effects; (3) increased use of nonproduction workers is strongly correlated with investment in computers and in R&D.

Date: 1994
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