Simon Commander, Alexander Plekhanov, Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Russia aims to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on natural resources. Despite laudable aims, this column argues that progress has been sluggish. Longstanding obstacles of corruption, low business-entry rates and weak competition afflict other countries that, like Russia, are in transition. Yet Russia comes pretty much bottom of the class. Crucially, the fact that economic diversification requires improvements to education and skills acquisition has been somewhat overlooked by the state. What attempts the state has made, such as supporting technology innovation, appear to have been ineffectual and, at times, counterproductive. Going forward, Russia would do well to focus on improving incentives for market-relevant research and development, complemented by private sector-led sources of finance for early-stage firms.

Rand Ghayad, William Dickens, Saturday, January 5, 2013

US unemployment seems stuck at an unusually high level of 8%, prompting some to suggest a widespread skills mismatch. This column argues that a skills mismatch is not supported by the evidence. Rather, out of the possible explanations, it seems that any shift in the ratio between unemployment and vacancies is driven by either lower search efforts by the long-term unemployed or by a reduction in their employability.

Holger Görg, Ingo Geishecker, Monday, September 24, 2007

International outsourcing is a growing phenomenon in world trade, and its 30% approximate increase between 1970 and 1990 has sparked a lot of interest in recent academic literature and the business press. CEPR DP6484 adds to previous studies on outsourcing’s implications for labour markets by investigating its effect, measured in terms of imports of intermediates, on wages for different skill groups.

Sandra E. Black, Alexandra Spitz-Oener, Saturday, September 1, 2007

Data on Germany suggest that important differences in the evolution of skill requirements at work by gender explain a substantial fraction of the closing of the gender wage gap. Policies promoting female employment should respond to these changing skill requirements.