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Analyzing skilled and unskilled labor efficiencies in the US

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  • Unel, Bulent

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the time paths of the efficiencies of skilled and unskilled labor in a production framework where skilled and unskilled labor are imperfect substitutes. Their implications for economic growth and wage inequality in the US between 1950 and 2005 present two main findings. First, although skilled labor efficiency has a strong upward trend, I find no evidence of acceleration in its growth rate to support the common view that there has been an acceleration in the new skilled-biased technologies. Second, beginning around 1970, there has been a decline in the absolute level of the efficiency of unskilled labor, implying that the decline has played a significant role in the overall productivity slowdown and the substantial widening in the US wage structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Unel, Bulent, 2010. "Analyzing skilled and unskilled labor efficiencies in the US," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 957-967, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:32:y:2010:i:4:p:957-967
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:chieco:v:47:y:2018:i:c:p:206-218 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bandyopadhyay, Subhayu & Dinopoulos, Elias & Unel, Bulent, 2016. "Effects of Credit Supply on Unemployment and Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 10006, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Naci H. Mocan & Bulent Unel, 2011. "Skill-biased Technological Change, Earnings of Unskilled Workers, and Crime," NBER Working Papers 17605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dinopoulos, Elias & Syropoulos, Constantinos & Xu, Bin & Yotov, Yoto V., 2011. "Intraindustry trade and the skill premium: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 15-25, May.
    5. Casey B. Mulligan & Trevor S. Gallen, 2013. "Wedges, Wages, and Productivity under the Affordable Care Act," NBER Working Papers 19771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Trevor S. Gallen & Casey B. Mulligan, 2013. "Wedges, Labor Market Behavior, and Health Insurance Coverage under the Affordable Care Act," NBER Working Papers 19770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Mocan, Naci & Raschke, Christian & Unel, Bulent, 2015. "The impact of mothers’ earnings on health inputs and infant health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 204-223.

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