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

Publication Abstract

Berman, Eli, John Bound, and Zvi Griliches. 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures." Quarterly Journal of Economics, 109(2): 367-397.

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.

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