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The Human Capital Of Common Workmen European Skill Premium In A Global Perspective

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates one aspect of this hypothesis: the remuneration of human capital. It tests whether Western Europe really had a comparative advantage in knowledge-intensive sectors by examining the long-term development of the skill premium in different parts of Europe and the most developed parts of Asia. It focuses on one particular skill premium that one knows a great deal about: the difference in daily wages between skilled craft smen (carpenters and masons) and unskilled labourers in the construction industry, and offers some additional information on the skill premium in other trades. The standard explanation for the negative link between wage inequality and level of economic development is that the supply of human capital increased more rapidly than did demand for it in the process of modern economic growth, as would be expected on the basis of new growth theory.

Keywords: human capital; modern economic growth; skill premium; Western Europe



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