Open Economies Review

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 725–749 | Cite as

Productivity Gap between Sectors and Double Duality in Labor Markets

  • Elise S. Brezis
  • Gilad Brand
Research Article


Over the last decades, productivity in the tradable sector rose substantially, while in the non-tradable sector, output per worker has remained the same, despite a similar increase in human capital in both sectors. This paper shows that a double duality both in the production and the higher-education sectors as well as heterogeneous ability of individuals might explain the differences in labor productivity between tradable and non-tradable industries. The double duality in the economy enables a separation of individuals by their ability, and in consequence, human capital in both industries is different. The heterogeneity in human capital can explain that despite an increase in human capital in both sectors there is still a gap in productivity and in wage premium. In other words, the productivity gap between sectors is fueled by the double duality in labor markets, leading to heterogeneity in human capital. In consequence, there is a contrast between on one hand, more mobility across countries, and on the other hand, less mobility between sectors.


Ability Skills Productivity Tradable goods Services Duality Higher education Human capital Wage premium 

JEL Classification

F12 F16 F66 I26 J24 O14 



We wish to thank Joel Cariolle, Catherine Mann, Thierry Verdier, Joseph Zeira, seminar participants at the PSE, the European Public Choice meetings, the IEA meetings, the IARIW conference, the Lisbon Research Center, The IAW Tubingen University workshop, as well as the referees and the Editor, for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.Taub CenterJerusalemIsrael

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