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Solow and heterogeneous labour: a neoclassical explanation of wage inequality

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  • Jürgen Meckl
  • Stefan Zink

Abstract

This paper analyses the effect of human-capital investments of heterogeneous individuals on the dynamics of the wage structure within a neoclassical growth model. The accumulation of physical capital changes relative factor prices and thus incentives to acquire skills, thereby altering the composition of the labour force. Without relying on exogenous shocks, our framework generates dynamics that resemble important observations on wage inequality (e.g., the non-monotone evolution of the skill premium). Additional incorporation of wage rigidities emphasises the trade off between residual wage inequality and employment opportunities for unskilled labour that is consistent with country-specific evidence. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 114 (2004)
Issue (Month): 498 (October)
Pages: 825-843

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:114:y:2004:i:498:p:825-843

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  1. Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1459, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  4. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
  5. Jürgen Meckl & Stefan Zink, 2002. "Human-capital investment and the wage gap," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 853-859.
  6. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1999. "Technological Change and Wages: An Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 285-325, April.
  7. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
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  9. Paul Segerstrom & Elias Dinopoulos, 1999. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 450-472, June.
  10. Taber, Christopher R, 2001. "The Rising College Premium in the Eighties: Return to College or Return to Unobserved Ability?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 665-91, July.
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  12. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Human Capital, Technology, and the Wage Structure: What Do Time Series Show?," NBER Working Papers 3581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Michael T. Kiley, 1997. "The supply of skilled labor and skill-based technological progress," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed The Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213, November.
  16. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Labor market institutions and earnings inequality," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 157-172.
  17. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 1998. "Ability Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1972, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  19. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 1707, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Masaya Yasuoka, 2013. "Subsidies for Elderly Care in Pay-As-You-Go Pension," Discussion Paper Series 109, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Sep 2013.
  2. Atsushi Miyake & Kazunobu Muro & Tamotsu Nakamura & Masaya Yasuoka, 2009. "Between- and within-group wage inequalities, and the advent of new technology," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 387-394, December.
  3. Backman, Mikaela & Bjerke, Lina, 2009. "Returns to Higher Education - a regional perspective," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 171, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.

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