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Technical Change and the Demand for Skills by U.S. Industries

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  • Howell, David R
  • Wolff, Edward N

Abstract

Previous studies have explained the demand for skills, usually measured by schooling attainment, by either factor price substitution, capital-skill complementarity, or technology-skill complementarity. The authors explore this demand with direct job-based measures of cognitive (CS), interactive (IS), and motor (MS) skills in a single model that includes all three sets of possible determinants. The results raise doubts about the adequacy of schooling as a measure of skill and TFP growth as an index of technical change. The authors find little support for capital-skill complementarity; capital-intensity and its growth are significantly inversely related to CS and MS levels and growth. Technical change is unambiguously linked to increasing CS, rising professional/technical shares, and declining operative/laborer shares. The effects on MS and IS are mixed, but young capital increases craft shares, and computer-intensity decreases supervisory and clerical/service shares. Copyright 1992 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (1992)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 127-46

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:16:y:1992:i:2:p:127-46

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Cited by:
  1. Wang, Q. & von Tunzelmann, N., 2000. "Complexity and the functions of the firm: breadth and depth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(7-8), pages 805-818, August.
  2. David H. Autor, 2007. "Structural demand shifts and potential labor supply responses in the new century," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, number 52.
  3. Vona, Francesco & Consoli, Davide, 2009. "Innovation, human capital and earning distribution: towards a dynamic life-cycle approach," MPRA Paper 13032, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Davide Consoli & Dioni Elche, 2013. "The evolving knowledge base of professional service sectors," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 477-501, April.
  5. Stuart Glosser & Lonnie Golden, 2005. "Is labour becoming more or less flexible? Changing dynamic behaviour and asymmetries of labour input in US manufacturing," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(4), pages 535-557, July.
  6. Hannes Leo, 2001. "European Skills Shortage in ICT and Policy Responses," WIFO Working Papers 163, WIFO.
  7. Consoli, Davide & Elche-Hortelano, Dioni, 2010. "Variety in the knowledge base of Knowledge Intensive Business Services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1303-1310, December.
  8. Wolff, Edward N., 2000. "Human capital investment and economic growth: exploring the cross-country evidence," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 433-472, December.
  9. Hollanders,Hugo & Weel,Bas,ter, 1998. "Skill-Biased Technological Change in an Endogenous Growth Model," Research Memorandum 016, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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