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Directed Technical Change

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  • Acemoglu, Daron

Abstract

For many problems in macroeconomics, development economics, labor economics, and international trade, whether technical change is biased towards particular factors is of central importance. This paper develops a simple framework to analyze the forces that shape these biases. There are two major forces affecting equilibrium bias: the price effect and the market size effect. While the former encourages innovations directed at scarce factors, the latter leads to technical change favoring abundant factors. The elasticity of substitution between different factors regulates how powerful these effects are, and this has implications about how technical change and factor prices respond to changes in relative supplies. If the elasticity of substitution is sufficiently large, the long-run relative demand for a factor can slope up. I apply this framework to discuss a range of issues including: Why technical change over the past 60 years was skill-biased, and why the skill bias may have accelerated over the past twenty-five years. Why new technologies introduced during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were unskill-biased. Why biased technical change may increase the income gap between rich and poor countries. Why international trade may induce skill-biased technical change. Why a large wage-push, as in continental Europe during the 1970s, may cause capital-biased technical change. Why technical change may be generally labor-augmenting rather than capital-augmenting.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 69 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 781-809

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Handle: RePEc:bla:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:4:p:781-809

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References

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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change And Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089, November.
  2. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-84, August.
  3. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2000. "Productivity Differences," CEPR Discussion Papers 2498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Rivera-Batiz, Luis A & Romer, Paul M, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-55, May.
  6. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230.
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  8. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155.
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  13. Angrist, Joshua D, 1995. "The Economic Returns to Schooling in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1065-87, December.
  14. Kiley, Michael T, 1999. "The Supply of Skilled Labour and Skill-Biased Technological Progress," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 708-24, October.
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  16. Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Ivory Tower Versus Corporate Lab : An Empirical Study of Basic Research and Appropriability," Papers 15-92, Tel Aviv.
  17. Segerstrom, Paul S & Anant, T C A & Dinopoulos, Elias, 1990. "A Schumpeterian Model of the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1077-91, December.
  18. Berndt, Ernst R, 1976. "Reconciling Alternative Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(1), pages 59-68, February.
  19. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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  1. “Directed Technical Change,” D. Acemoglu (2002)
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2012-06-04 06:49:08
  2. “Directed Technical Change,” D. Acemoglu (2002)
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2012-06-04 06:49:08
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