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The Assignment of Workers to Tasks, Wage Distribution, and Technical Change: A Critical Review

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  • Arnaud Dupuy

    () (Maastricht University)

Abstract

This article reviews the literature on two-sided atomless assignment models of workers to tasks. Using simple parametric examples, the fundamental differences between the comparative-advantage and the scale-of-operations models are illustrated. Holding the distributions of abilities and tasks and the production function of worker-task pairs constant, the two principles are shown to produce different wage distributions and wage inequality. These models are useful to evaluate the general equilibrium effect of technical change on the wage structure. In all models, Skill Biased Technical Change that impacts the production function of worker-task pairs leads to rising wage inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnaud Dupuy, 2008. "The Assignment of Workers to Tasks, Wage Distribution, and Technical Change: A Critical Review," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 17(3-4), pages 12-36, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:jid:journl:y:2008:v:17:i:3-4:p:12-36
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    12. Dupuy, Arnaud & Marey, Philip S., 2008. "Shifts and twists in the relative productivity of skilled labor," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 718-735, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arnaud Dupuy, 2015. "The Assignment of Workers to Tasks with Endogenous Supply of Skills," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(325), pages 24-45, January.
    2. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "Understanding the Technology of Computer Technology Diffusion: Explaining Computer Adoption Patterns and Implications for the Wage Structure," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 17(3-4), pages 37-70, September.
    3. Koch, Michael & Egger, Hartmut, 2013. "Trade and the Firm-Internal Allocation of Workers to Tasks," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79841, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    assignment models; wage structure; technical change;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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