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Changes in U.S. Wages, 19762000: Ongoing Skill Bias or Major Technological Change?

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Author Info

  • Paul Beaudry

    (University of British Columbia)

  • David A. Green

    (University of British Columbia)

Abstract

This article examines the determinants of changes in the U.S. wage structure from 1976 to 2000. Our main empirical observation is that changes in both the level of wages and the returns to skill over this period were primarily driven by changes in the ratio of human capital to physical capital. We show that this pattern conforms extremely well to a simple model of technological adoption following a major change in technological opportunities. In contrast, we do not find much empirical support for the view that ongoing (factor-augmenting) skill-biased technological progress has been an important driving force over this period.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 609-648

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:23:y:2005:i:3:p:609-648

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Cited by:
  1. David Card & Ethan G. Lewis, 2007. "The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 193-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Batyra, Anna & Sneessens, Henri R., 2010. "Selective Reductions in Labor Taxation: Labor Market Adjustments and Macroeconomic Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 5013, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Ariell Reshef, 2012. "Online Appendix to "Is Technological Change Biased Towards the Unskilled in Services? An Empirical Investigation"," Technical Appendices 11-241, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  4. Gavilan, Angel, 2012. "Wage inequality, segregation by skill and the price of capital in an assignment model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 116-137.
  5. Matthias Weiss, 2004. "Skill-Biased Technological Change: Is there Hope for the Unskilled?," MEA discussion paper series 04045, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  6. Corsini, Lorenzo, 2008. "Institutions, Technological Change and the Wage Differentials Between Skilled and Unskilled Workers: Theory and Evidence from Europe," IRISS Working Paper Series 2008-02, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  7. Ashley Lester, 2005. "Inequality And The Dual Economy: Technology Adoption With Specific And General Skills," CAMA Working Papers 2006-01, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  8. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "How Do Industries and Firms Respond to Changes in Local Labor Supply?," IZA Discussion Papers 6257, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Endogenous Skill Bias in Technology Adoption: City-Level Evidence from the IT Revolution," NBER Working Papers 12521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Asplund, Rita & Napari, Sami, 2011. "Intangible capital and wages: An analysis of wage gaps across occupations and genders in Czech Republic, Finland and Norway," Discussion Papers 1248, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  11. Ariell Reshef, 2008. "Is Technological Change Biased Towards the Unskilled in Services? An Empirical Investigation," 2008 Meeting Papers 235, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Mollick, André Varella, 2012. "Income inequality in the U.S.: The Kuznets hypothesis revisited," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 127-144.

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