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Skill Sorting, Inter-Industry Skill Wage Premium, and Production Chains: Evidence from India 1999-2000

Discussion Papers

No.278

February 2011

ABSTRACT

This paper proposes a mechanism that links industry’s technological characteristics (i.e. quality of non-labor inputs, which is proxied by the length of industry production chains), industry-specific skill wage premium, and skill sorting across industries. It is hypothesized that high-skilled workers are sorted into industries where they can receive a higher skill wage premium, by working with better quality non-labor input. The quality of non-labor inputs is assumed to be worse in industries with longer production chains due to the increased involvement of low-skilled labor and poor infrastructure over the sequential production. By examining Indian wage and employment data for 1999-2000, empirical evidence to support this mechanism can be obtained: First, the skill wage premium is lower [higher] in industries with longer [shorter] production chains. Second, the skill wage premium is lower [higher] in industries with a higher [lower] proportion of low-skilled workers producing inputs outside their own industry. Third, the proportion of high-skilled workers is larger in industries with shorter production chains and lower ratio of low-skilled labor involved, i.e., a skill sorting trend can be observed.

Keywords: India, Industry wage, Production chains, Sequential production, Skill wage premium, Skill sorting
JEL classification: J24, J31

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