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Recent Twists of the Wage Structure and Technology Diffusion

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  • James D Adams

Abstract

This paper is an empirical study of the impact on U.S. wage structure of domestic technology, foreign technology, and import penetration. A model is presented which combines factor proportions theory with a version of growth theory. The model, which assumes two levels of skill, suggests that domestic technology raises both wages, while foreign technology, on a simple interpretation, lowers both. Trade at a constant technology, as usual, lowers the wage of that class of labor used intensively by the affected industry, and raises the other wage. The findings support the predictions of the model for domestic technology. On the other hand, they suggest that technological change, and perhaps other factors, have obscured the role of factor proportions in the data. Indeed, foreign technology and trade have the same effect on wages at different skill levels, not the opposite effects suggested by factor proportions. Finally, a simple diffusion story, in which foreign technology lowers all U.S. wages, is also rejected. Instead, uniformly higher U.S. wages, not lower, appear to be associated with the technology and trade of the oldest trading partners of the U.S., the economies of the West. Not so for Asia, especially the smaller countries which have recently accelerated their trade with the U.S. Their effects are uniformly negative on wages, suggesting a distinction between shock and long run effects of foreign technology and trade.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/1994/CES-WP-94-05.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 94-5.

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Date of creation: Mar 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:94-5

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Keywords: CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

References

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  1. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1991. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 557-86, May.
  3. Jaffe, Adam B, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
  4. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  5. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
  6. Griliches, Zvi, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  7. George J. Borjas & Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "Foreign Competition, Market Power and Wage Inequality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 253-66, April.
  9. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  10. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
  11. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  12. Robert Evenson, 1984. "International Invention: Implications for Technology Market Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: R & D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 89-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. James D Adams & Leo Sveikauskas, 1993. "Academic Science, Industrial R&D, and the Growth of Inputs," Working Papers 93-1, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. 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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Cited by:
  1. Douglas W Dwyer, 1995. "Whittling Away At Productivity Dispersion," Working Papers 95-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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