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General Purpose Technology and Wage Inequality

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  • Aghion, Philippe
  • Howitt, Peter
  • Violante, Giovanni L

Abstract

The recent changes in the U.S. wage structure are often linked to the new wave of capital-embodied information technologies. The existing literature has emphasized either the accelerated pace or the skill-bias of embodied technical progress as the driving force behind the rise in wage inequality. A key, neglected, aspect is the "general purpose" nature of the new information technologies. This paper formalizes the idea of generality of technology in two ways, one related to human capital (skill transferability) and one to physical capital (vintage compatibility) and studies the impact of an increase in these two dimensions of technological generality on equilibrium wage inequality. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economic Growth.

Volume (Year): 7 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 315-45

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:7:y:2002:i:4:p:315-45

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  1. Van Reenen, John & Caroli, Eve, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence from a panel of British and French establishments," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10093, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-44, September.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Antonio Rangel, 1998. "Adjusting to a New Technology: Experience and Training," Working Papers 99002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  4. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
  5. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 363-82, June.
  6. Flug, K. & Hercowitz, Z., 1998. "Equipment Investment and the Relative Demand for Skilled Labour: International Evidence," Papers 05-98, Tel Aviv.
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