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Skills’ Substitutability and Technological Progress: U.S. States 1950-1990

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  • Antonio Ciccone
  • Giovanni Peri

Abstract

In this article we estimate the long-run aggregate elasticity of substitution between skilled and unskilled workers. This is an important parameter as it allows us to compute the skill biased technological progress (SBTP) from the evolution of relative wages. However, it is hard to estimate because skill supply is endogenous. We tackle the task by using instruments proposed by the labor literature as sources of exogenous variation of schooling achievements across U.S. States. They are the state laws on Compulsory Schooling Attendance and on Child Labor. We then calculate SBTP and, using growth accounting, we calculate Hicks neutral technological progress (HNTP) for U.S. states in each decade between 1950 and 1990.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1024.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1024

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Keywords: elasticity of substitution; skill biased technology; skilled and unskilled workers; U.S. states;

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  1. Lutz Hendricks, 2002. "How Important Is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 198-219, March.
  2. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-78, September.
  4. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  5. Ciccone, Antonio & Peri, Giovanni, 2002. "Identifying Human Capital Externalities: Theory with an Application to US Cities," IZA Discussion Papers 488, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chao, John Chao & Norman R. Swanson, 2003. "Consistent Estimation with a Large Number of Weak Instruments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1417, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "Voting with Your Children: A Positive Analysis of Child Labor Laws," UCLA Economics Working Papers 828, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 2584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, December.
  11. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  12. 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.
  13. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  14. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2002. "What Explains the Industrial Revolution in East Asia? Evidence From the Factor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 502-526, June.
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