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A Theory of Defensive Skill-Biased Innovation and Globalization

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  • Mathias Thoenig
  • Thierry Verdier

Abstract

This paper considers a dynamic model of innovations in which firms can endogenously bias the direction of technological change. Both in a North-North and North-South context, we show that, when globalization triggers an increased threat of technological leapfrogging or imitation, firms tend to respond to that threat by biasing the direction of their innovations towards skilled-labor-intensive technologies. We show that this process of defensive skill-biased innovations generates an increase in wage inequalities in both regions. We then discuss suggestive empirical evidence of the existence of defensive skill-biased technical change.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/000282803322157052
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 93 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 709-728

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:3:p:709-728

Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803322157052
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  1. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  17. Dinopoulos, Elias & Segerstrom, Paul, 1996. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," Working Paper Series 471, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  18. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Evenson, Robert E. & Westphal, Larry E., 1995. "Technological change and technology strategy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2209-2299 Elsevier.
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