A MACROECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE ON SKILL SHORTAGES AND THE SKILL PREMIUM IN NEW ZEALAND *
WESHAH A. RAZZAK
JASON C. TIMMINS
Qualification and occupation-based measures of skilled labour are constructed to explain the skill premium - the wage of skilled labour relative to unskilled labour in New Zealand. The data exhibit a more rapid growth in the supply of skilled labour than the skill premium, and a very large increase in the real minimum wage over the period from 1986 to 2005. We estimate the rate of increase in the relative demand for skills and the elasticity of substitution. The data are consistent with skill shortages and a skill-bias technical change. We examine the effects of the minimum wage, capital complementarity, and the exchange rate on the skill premium. We also test whether the demand for skills and the elasticity of substitution varied across industries and over time. Copyright 2008 The Authors.
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