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A Working Paper from the
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

ABSTRACT

Concerns that there are problems with the supply of skills, especially education-related skills, in the
US labor force have exploded in recent years with a series of reports from employer-associated organizations but also from independent and even government sources making similar claims.  These complaints about skills are driving much of the debate around labor force and education policy, yet they have not been examined carefully. 

Mr. Cappelli examines the range of these charges as well as other evidence about skills in the labor force. The paper suggest that there is very little evidence consistent with the complaints about skills and a wide range of evidence suggesting that they are not true.  The research paper considers three possible explanations for the employer complaints as well as the implications associated with those changes.

Peter Cappelli  from the Wharton School
Center for Human Resources
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6358
and NBER
cappelli@wharton.upenn.edu

Working Paper 20382
http://www.nber.org/papers/w20382

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