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The skill premium, technological change and appropriability

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  • Nahuis, R.

    (Tilburg University)

  • Smulders, J.A.

    (Tilburg University)

Abstract

In the US the skill premium and the non-production/production wage differential increased strongly from the late 1970s onwards.Skill-biased technological change is now generally seen as the dominant explanation, which calls for theories to explain the bias.This paper shows that the increased supply of skill - which is usually seen as countervailing the rise in skill premiums - can actually cause rising skill premiums.The analysis starts from an R&D-driven endogenous growth model.Our key assumption is that skilled labour is employed in non-production activities that both generate and use knowledge inputs.If firms can sufficiently appropriate the intertemporal returns from these activities, skill premiums may rise with the supply of skilled labour.The degree of appropriability is endogenous and rises with the supply of skills.As a result, the skill premium first falls and then increases when skilled labour supply rises.Simultaneously, patents per dollar spent on R&D fall.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University in its series Open Access publications from Tilburg University with number urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-89731.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Growth (2002) v.7, p.137-156
Handle: RePEc:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-89731

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Web page: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/

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  1. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change And Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089, November.
  3. Thompson, Peter & Waldo, Doug, 1994. "Growth and trustified capitalism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 445-462, December.
  4. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  5. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1998. "Ability Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, and Economic Growth," Working Papers 98-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Peretto, Pietro F., 1996. "Technological Change and Population Growth," Working Papers 96-28, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  8. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 363-82, June.
  9. Peretto, Pietro F., 1999. "Cost reduction, entry, and the interdependence of market structure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 173-195, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer & Weinberg, Bruce A, 2001. " Precautionary Demand for Education, Inequality, and Technological Progress," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 285-315, December.
  12. Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 47-77, March.
  13. Smulders, J.A. & Klundert, T.C.M.J. van de, 1995. "Imperfect competition, concentration and growth with firm-specific R&D," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-153407, Tilburg University.
  14. Michael T. Kiley, 1997. "The supply of skilled labor and skill-based technological progress," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  16. Keely, Louise & Quah, Danny, 1998. "Technology in Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1901, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lei Ji, 2013. "Rethinking directed technical change with endogenous market structure," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2013-18, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  2. Volker Grossmann, 2005. "White-collar employment, inequality, and technological change," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 119-142, December.
  3. Smulders, Sjak & de Nooij, Michiel, 2003. "The impact of energy conservation on technology and economic growth," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 59-79, February.
  4. Keiichi Kishi, 2013. "Dynamic analysis of wage inequality and creative destruction," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-20, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  5. Richard Nahuis & Henri de Groot, 2003. "Rising skill premia; you ain't seen nothing yet?," CPB Discussion Paper 20, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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