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The increasing demand for skilled workers in Australia: The role of technical change

Staff research paper

This paper by Craig de Laine, Patrick Laplagne and Susan Stone was released on 12 September 2000. The paper examines how technological change has affected the demand for skilled workers.

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A staff research paper by Craig de Laine, Partrick Laplagne and Susan Stone on The Increasing Demand for Skilled Workers in Australia: The Role of Technical Change examines how technological change has affected the demand for skilled workers.

Over the past twenty years, there has been a shift toward employment of skilled workers in Australia, as well as in many other industrialised economies.

While it has sometimes been argued that the trend toward skilled workers is due to increased trade with low wage countries, the paper shows other factors are at work. Changing employment patterns are more closely associated with a pull toward skilled workers, rather than a push away from lower skilled workers. The paper emphasises the role technology has played in shaping this demand.

The staff paper also finds that the role of technology appears to have increased since the mid 1980's, coinciding with a period of increased microeconomic reform.

Background information

02 6240 3330

Cover, Copyright, Contents, Acknowledgments, Abbreviations and explanations, Key Findings, Overview

1 Introduction
1.1 Rationale for the study
1.2 Labour market environment
1.3 Paper outline

2 Theory and Trends
2.1 Theoretical background
2.2 The shift towards high skilled employment
2.3 Possible explanations for the shift towards high skilled employment
2.4 Summary

3 Methodology and data
3.1 Methodology
3.2 Technological change or computers?
3.3 Dataset

4 Decomposition of the change in the employment share of high skilled workers
4.1 Economywide decomposition
4.2 Sectoral decomposition
4.3 Summary

5 High skilled labour and technical change
5.1 Manufacturing
5.2 Economywide
5.3 Conclusion

6 Conclusions

A Data sources and series construction
A.1 Industry classification concordance
A.2 Occupational concordance
A.3 Employment
A.4 Total wage bill
A.5 Trade
A.6 Capital stock
A.7 Value added
A.8 Research and Development
A.9 Descriptive statistics for selected variables

B Decomposition analysis
B.1 Decomposition methodology
B.2 Sector and industry contributions to economywide effects
B.3 Industry contributions to the sectoral gender effects

C Theoretical framework
C.1 Derivation of estimating equations
C.2 Approaches to estimation

D Detailed econometric results
D.1 Manufacturing
D.2 Economywide
D.3 Conclusion