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People People: Social Capital and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups

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Abstract

Despite indications that people skills are important for understanding individual labor-market outcomes and have become more important over the last decades, there is little analysis by economists. This paper shows that people skills are important determinants of labor-market outcomes, including occupations and wages. We show that technological and organizational changes have increased the importance of people skills in the workplace. We particularly focus on how the increased importance of people skills has affected the labor-market outcomes of under represented groups. We show that the acceleration rate of increase in the importance of people skills between the late 1970s and early 1990s can help explain why women%u2019s wages increased more rapidly while the wages of blacks grew more slowly over these years relative to earlier years.

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