Are skill requirements in the workplace rising? Distinguishing between skill-biased technological change and over-education

Alexandra Spitz, ZEW, Mannheim

Both the "skill-biased technological change"
hypothesis and the "over-education" hypothesis are consistent
with the observed increased proportion of employees with high
levels of education, but have different predictions regarding
occupational skill requirements. The analysis in this paper
distinguishes between these two competing hypotheses by
investigating the changing skill requirements within occupations
that have been brought about by workplace computerization. The
analysis shows that changes in occupational skill requirements
explain a large proportion of the educational upgrading in the
workforce. This evidence points to skill-biased technological
change, rather than over-education, as the explanation for the
educational upgrading.

Date: 16 March-00 0000