The Effects of Technical Change on Labour Market Inequalities
AbstractIn this chapter we inspect economic mechanisms through which technological progress shapes the degree of inequality among workers in the labour market. A key focus is on the rise of US wage inequality over the past 30 years. However, we also pay attention to how Europe did not experience changes in wage inequality but instead saw a sharp increase in unemployment and an increased labour share of income, variables that remained stable in the US We hypothesize that these changes in labour market inequalities can be accounted for by the wave of capital-embodied technological change, which we also document. We propose a variety of mechanisms based on how technology increases the returns to education, ability, experience, and ‘luck’ in the labour market. We also discuss how the wage distribution may have been indirectly influenced by technical change through changes in certain aspects of the organization of work, such as the hierarchical structure of firms, the extent of unionization, and the degree of centralization of bargaining. To account for the US-Europe differences, we use a theory based on institutional differences between the United States and Europe, along with a common acceleration of technical change. Finally, we briefly comment on the implications of labour market inequalities for welfare and for economic policy.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5025.
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Hornstein, Andreas & Krusell, Per & Violante, Giovanni L., 2005. "The Effects of Technical Change on Labor Market Inequalities," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 20, pages 1275-1370 Elsevier.
- Andreas Hornstein & Per Krussell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2004. "The effects of technical change on labor market inequalities," Working Paper 04-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
- D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
- J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
- O30 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-06-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2005-06-14 (Development)
- NEP-LAB-2005-06-14 (Labour Economics)
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