IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v113y1998i3p693-732..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity

Author

Listed:
  • Claudia Goldin
  • Lawrence F. Katz

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 693-732.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:693-732.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    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 below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harry Jerome, 1934. "Changes in Mechanization: Non-Manufacturing Industries," NBER Chapters, in: Mechanization in Industry, pages 120-178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Devine, Warren D., 1983. "From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 347-372, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Allen, Steven G, 2001. "Technology and the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 440-483, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Claudia Goldin, 1994. "How America Graduated from High School: 1910 to 1960," NBER Working Papers 4762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. James, John A. & Skinner, Jonathan S., 1985. "The Resolution of the Labor-Scarcity Paradox," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 513-540, September.
    9. 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.
    10. 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, October.
    11. Jacob Mincer, 1989. "Human Capital Responses to Technological Change in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-468, November.
    13. 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.
    14. Nelson, Daniel, 1987. "Mass Production and the U.S. Tire Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 329-339, June.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Harry Jerome, 1934. "Mechanization in Industry," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jero34-1, October.
    21. 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.
    22. Solomon Fabricant, 1940. "The Output of Manufacturing Industries, 1899-1937," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fabr40-1, October.
    23. David H. Autor, 2001. "Wiring the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 25-40, Winter.
    24. 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.
    25. 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.
    26. 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.
    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)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1999. "Technological Change and Wages: An Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 285-325, April.
    2. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    3. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
    4. Nico Voigtlaender, 2009. "Many Sectors Meet More Skills: Intersectoral Linkages and the Skill Bias of Technology," 2009 Meeting Papers 1136, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "Experience and Technology Adoption," IZA Discussion Papers 1051, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Castro Silva, Hugo & Lima, Francisco, 2017. "Technology, employment and skills: A look into job duration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1519-1530.
    7. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
    8. Dennis J. Snower, 1998. "Causes of changing earnings inequality," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 69-133.
    9. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2014. "Technological Change and Wages in China: Evidence from Matched Employer–Employee Data," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 123-138, February.
    10. R. Nahuis & H.M. de Groot, 2003. "Rising Skills Premia. You ain't seen nothing yet," Working Papers 03-02, Utrecht School of Economics.
    11. Bresnahan, Timothy F, 1999. "Computerisation and Wage Dispersion: An Analytical Reinterpretation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 390-415, June.
    12. Dunne, Timothy & Haltiwanger, John & Troske, Kenneth R., 1997. "Technology and jobs: secular changes and cyclical dynamics," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 107-178, June.
    13. Borghans, Lex & Weel, Bas ter, 2001. "What happens when agent T gets a computer?," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    14. Piva, Mariacristina & Santarelli, Enrico & Vivarelli, Marco, 2005. "The skill bias effect of technological and organisational change: Evidence and policy implications," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 141-157, March.
    15. Axel Franzen, 2001. "Wages and the Use of New Technologies: An Empirical Analysis of the Swiss Labor Market," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 137(IV), pages 505-523, December.
    16. Allen, Steven G, 2001. "Technology and the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 440-483, April.
    17. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel, 2011. "Computers, skills and wages," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(29), pages 4607-4622.
    18. Aimee Chin & Chinhui Juhn & Peter Thompson, 2004. "Technical Change and the Wage Structure During the Second Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the Merchant Marine, 1865-1912," NBER Working Papers 10728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Cindy Zoghi & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, 2007. "Which workers gain upon adopting a computer?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 423-444, May.
    20. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • N0 - Economic History - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. 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) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Oxford University Press to update the entry or send us the correct email address or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.