Technological Change and Returns to Education: The Implications for the S&E Labor Market
Jin Hwa Jung
This paper analyzes the earnings effect of skill-biased technological change (SBTC), focusing on the comparison of science and engineering (S&E) and non-S&E occupations. In the analysis, we assert that S&E occupations and non-S&E occupations differ in the nature of skill requirements and their susceptibility to technological change; and consequently the earnings effects of SBTC also demonstrate a similar impact. For the empirical analysis, the modified Mincerian earnings equations are estimated by quantile regressions as well as the ordinary least squares (OLS) and two-stage estimation method. Fitted to Korean panel data, the earning-enhancing effect of SBTC is observed for male workers, not only for those in S&E occupations but also for those in non-S&E occupations. Such an effect is not observed for women in S&E occupations, and rather turns even negative for women in non-S&E occupations; envisaging a relatively large occurrence of work interruption of married women in Korea, we conjecture that this may reflect women workers' skill deterioration taking place during a work interruption. The earnings effect of SBTC is most apparent for male workers in the higher quantiles of earnings distribution, implying that those who are highly educated and have high unobserved ability gain most from SBTC.
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