IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity

Listed author(s):
  • Claudia Goldin
  • Lawrence F. Katz

Current concern with the impact of new technologies on the wage structure motivates this study. We offer evidence that technology-skill and capital-skill (relative) complementarities existed in manufacturing early in this century and were related to the adoption of electric motors and particular production methods. Industries, from 1909 to 1929, with more capital per worker and a greater proportion of motive energy coming from purchased electricity employed relatively more educated blue-collar workers in 1940 and paid their production workers substantially more. We also find a strong positive association between changes in capital intensity and the nonproduction worker wage bill from 1909–1919 implying capital-skill complementarity as large as in recent years.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355398555720
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 113 (1998)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 693-732

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:693-732.
Contact details of provider:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Allen, Steven G, 2001. "Technology and the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 440-483, April.
  2. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Harry Jerome, 1934. "Mechanization in Industry," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jero34-1, November.
  4. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
  5. Bartel, Ann P & Sicherman, Nachum, 1998. "Technological Change and the Skill Acquisition of Young Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 718-755, October.
  6. Harry Jerome, 1934. "Changes in Mechanization: Non-Manufacturing Industries," NBER Chapters,in: Mechanization in Industry, pages 120-178 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Devine, Warren D., 1983. "From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 347-372, June.
  8. Solomon Fabricant, 1940. "Director's Note to "The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937"," NBER Chapters,in: The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937, pages -17 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fallon, P R & Layard, P R G, 1975. "Capital-Skill Complementarity, Income Distribution, and Output Accounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 279-301, April.
  10. Claudia Goldin, 1994. "How America Graduated from High School: 1910 to 1960," NBER Working Papers 4762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James, John A. & Skinner, Jonathan S., 1985. "The Resolution of the Labor-Scarcity Paradox," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(03), pages 513-540, September.
  12. Harry Jerome, 1934. "Changes in Mechanization in Selected Manufacturing Industries," NBER Chapters,in: Mechanization in Industry, pages 55-119 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Daniel Creamer & Sergei Dobrovolsky & Israel Borenstein, 1960. "Capital in Manufacturing and Mining: Its Formation and Financing," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number crea60-1, November.
  14. Jacob Mincer, 1989. "Human Capital Responses to Technological Change in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Solomon Fabricant, 1940. "The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fabr40-1, November.
  16. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-468, November.
  17. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne & Kenneth R. Troske, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-290.
  18. David H. Autor, 2001. "Wiring the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 25-40, Winter.
  19. Solomon Fabricant, 1940. "Index to "The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937"," NBER Chapters,in: The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937, pages 663-685 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Nelson, Daniel, 1987. "Mass Production and the U.S. Tire Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(02), pages 329-339, June.
  21. 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.
  22. Solomon Fabricant, 1940. "Preface to "The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937"," NBER Chapters,in: The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937, pages -15--12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Daniel Creamer & Sergei P. Dobrovolsky & Israel Borenstein & Martin Bernstein, 1960. "Index to "Capital in Manufacturing and Mining: Its Formation and Financing"," NBER Chapters,in: Capital in Manufacturing and Mining: Its Formation and Financing, pages 341-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Ernst R. Berndt & Catherine J. Morrison & Larry S. Rosenblum, 1992. "High-Tech Capital Formation and Labor Composition in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: An Exploratory Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1986. "Productivity Growth in Manufacturing during Early Industrialization: Evidence from the American Northeast, 1820-1860," NBER Chapters,in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 679-736 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:693-732.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.