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Technology, trade, and income distribution in West Germany: A factor-share analysis, 1976-1994

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Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of functional income distribution in West Germany. The approach is to estimate a complete system of factor share equations for low-skilled labor, high-skilled labor, capital, energy, and materials, taking account of biased technological progress and increasing trade-orientation. Technological progress is found to reduce the share of low-skilled labor and to raise the share of high-skilled labor. The effect of technology bias on the two labor shares is enhanced by substitution of intermediate inputs for lowskilled labor, which is almost absent in the case of high-skilled labor. Trade-induced changes in the composition of aggregate output tend to mitigate these effects, due to the relatively favorable export performance of low-skill intensive industries. The year-to-year variation in the low-skilled share can be attributed to input prices, biased technological progress, and trade-induced structural change in the proportion 19:77:4. For high-skilled labor and capital, the output composition effect of trade contributes about one percent. The results are robust across several specifications examined.

Suggested Citation

  • Carsten Ochsen & Heinz Welsch, 2005. "Technology, trade, and income distribution in West Germany: A factor-share analysis, 1976-1994," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 8, pages 321-345, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:8:y:2005:n:2:p:321-345
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacobi, Lena & Schaffner, Sandra, 2008. "Does Marginal Employment Substitute Regular Employment? – A Heterogeneous Dynamic Labor Demand Approach for Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 56, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Carsten Ochsen, 2006. "Zukunft der Arbeit und Arbeit der Zukunft in Deutschland," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(2), pages 173-193, May.
    3. repec:zbw:rwirep:0056 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Elisabeth Kutschka, 2011. "Quality Upgrading, Skill Demand and International Trade: The Case of German Manufacturing," FEMM Working Papers 110022, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    5. Lena Jacobi & Sandra Schaffner, 2008. "Does Marginal Employment Substitute Regular Employment? – A Heterogeneous Dynamic Labor Demand Approach for Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0056, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Adela Luque & C.J. Krizan, 2009. "The Micro-Dynamics of Skill Mix Changes in a Dual Labor Market: The Spanish Manufacturing Experience," Working Papers 09-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income shares; factor substitution; technological progress; trade;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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