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L'augmentation des inégalités est-elle le prix à payer pour l'innovation et la croissance ?


  • Patricia Crifo


[eng] h Rising Wage Inegality the Price Cost of Innovation and Growth ? This article presents an analysis of the models that have been developed in the literature to account for the rise in wage inequality during the 1980s and the 1990s. These models build upon the assumption of an acceleration in the rate of technological progress associated with the diffusion of the new information and communication technologies. What is at stake in this literature is not to justify the existence of skill-biased technical per se, but rather to explain the main and recent dimensions of such a bias on relative wages. A first dimension lies in the extent of wage inequality, namely the aggravation of inequality since the 1980s in developed economies. The aim is to explain why such a bias has occurred in the 1980s, while technical change has diffused all along the twentieth century, precisely during a period where skilled labour supply increased. A second dimension of wage inequality concerns its fractal nature, that is the fact that it persists within education groups. Furthermore, within groups inequality features a strong transitory dimension, and differs in nature according to the level of education considered. Depending on the determinants — exogenous or endogenous - and the consequences on wage inequality - permanent or transitory - that such models explain through the recent acceleration in the rate of technological change, two categories of models can be distinguished. In the first one, the technological bias is analysed by focusing on the impact of technical change on the returns to human capital. Human capital embeds for example individual ability, the ability to absorb and use new technologies, assets, luck, specific technological competencies or general education. The second category of models highlight the mechanisms likely to explain the interaction between technological progress, supply and demand for skilled workers. These approaches however explain only a restrictive part of the evolution of wage inequality. In the long run on the one hand, and when considering dimensions such as work organization on the other hand, other categories of models are necessary. [fre] Patricia Crifo L'augmentation des inégalités est-elle le prix à payer pour l'innovation et la croissance ? Cet article présente une analyse des différents types de modèles de progrès technique biaisé mis en avant pour expliquer l'augmentation des inégalités de salaires au cours des années 1 980 et 1990. On distingue ainsi les approches selon les déterminants - exogènes ou endogènes — et les conséquences sur les inégalités - permanentes ou transitoires - que ces modèles attribuent à cette accélération récente du progrès technique. Deux grandes familles de modèles émergent. D'un côté, se trouvent les modèles qui expliquent le biais technologique en se focalisant sur l'effet du progrès technique sur les rendements du capital humain. Le capital humain comprend par exemple les capacités individuelles définies au sens large, la capacité d'intégration et d'utilisation des nouvelles technologies, les actifs, la chance, les compétences technologiques spécifiques ou enfin le niveau d'éducation générale. D'un autre côté, se trouvent les modèles qui s'intéressent aux mécanismes susceptibles d'expliquer l'interaction entre progrès technique, offre et demande de travail qualifié. Ces approches ne rendent compte toutefois que d'une partie restreinte de l'évolution des inégalités. A long terme d'une part, et en prenant en compte des dimensions comme l'organisation du travail d'autre part, d'autres modèles doivent être mobilisés pour expliquer l'évolution des inégalités.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Crifo, 2005. "L'augmentation des inégalités est-elle le prix à payer pour l'innovation et la croissance ?," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 19(3), pages 117-157.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:rfreco:rfeco_0769-0479_2005_num_19_3_1555
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rfeco.2005.1555

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David J. TEECE, 2008. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Transfer And Licensing Of Know-How And Intellectual Property Understanding the Multinational Enterprise in the Modern World, chapter 5, pages 67-87 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    8. Geroski, P. A., 1995. "What do we know about entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 421-440, December.
    9. Klepper, Steven & Simons, Kenneth L, 1997. "Technological Extinctions of Industrial Firms: An Inquiry into Their Nature and Causes," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 379-460, March.
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