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The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology: Some Empirical Evidence

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  • Ann P. Bartel
  • Frank R. Lichtenberg

Abstract

In this paper we estimate variants of a labor demand equation derived from a (restricted variable) cost function in which "experience"on a technology (proxied by the mean age of the capital stock) enters "non-neutrally." Our specification of the underlying cost function isbased on the hypothesis that highly educated workers have a comparative advantage with respect to the adjustment to and implementation of new technologies. Our empirical results are consistent with the implication of this hypothesis, that the relative demand for educated workers declines as the capital stock (and presumably the technology embodied therein) ages. According to our estimates, the education-distribution of employment depends more strongly on the age of equipment than on the age of plant, and the effect of changes in equipment age on labor demand is magnified in R&D-intensive industries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1718.

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Date of creation: Oct 1985
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Publication status: published as Bartel, Ann P. and Frank R. Lichtenberg."The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology: Some Empirical Evidence,"Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. LXIX, No. 1, February 1987, pp. 1-11.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1718

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  1. Binswanger, Hans P, 1974. "The Measurement of Technical Change Biases with Many Factors of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 964-76, December.
  2. Frederic Scherer, 1984. "Using Linked Patent and R&D Data to Measure InterindustryTechnology Flows," NBER Chapters, in: R & D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 417-464 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pierre A. Mohnen & M. Ishaq Nadiri & Ingmar R. Prucha, 1984. "R&D, Production Structure, and Productivity Growth in the U.S., Japaneseand German Manufacturing Sectors," NBER Working Papers 1264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Welch, F, 1970. "Education in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 35-59, Jan.-Feb..
  6. Jorgenson, Dale W, 1971. "Econometric Studies of Investment Behavior: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1111-47, December.
  7. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Interindustry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth: A Reexamination," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 241-250 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael Denny & Melvyn Fuss, 1983. "The Effects of Factor Prices and Technological Change on the Occupational Demand for Labor: Evidence from Canadian Telecommunications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(2), pages 161-176.
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Cited by:
  1. Jon Wisman, 2001. "Creative destruction and labor's options," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 51-76, January.

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