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Investment-Specific Technological Change, Skill Accumulation, and Wage Inequality

  • Hui He

    (University of Hawaii)

  • Zheng Liu

    (Emory University)

Wage inequality between education groups in the United States has increased substantially since the early 1980s. The relative number of college-educated workers has also increased dramatically in the postwar period. This paper presents a unified framework where the dynamics of both skill accumulation and wage inequality arise as an equilibrium outcome driven by measured investment-specific technological change. Working through equipment-skill complementarity and endogenous skill accumulation, the model does well in capturing the steady growth in the relative quantity of skilled labor during the postwar period and the substantial rise in wage inequality after the early 1980s. Based on the calibrated model, we examine the quantitative effects of some hypothetical tax-policy reforms on skill accumulation, wage inequality, and welfare. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 314-334

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:06-160
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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
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  9. William Blankenau, 1999. "A Welfare Analysis of Policy Responses to the Skilled Wage Premium," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 820-849, October.
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  11. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change And Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089, November.
  12. Selo Imrohoroglu & Kaiji Chen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Japanese Saving Rate," 2005 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-68, November.
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  16. McGrattan, Ellen R., 1994. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 573-601, June.
  17. Philippe Aghion, 2002. "Schumpeterian Growth Theory and the Dynamics of Income Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 855-882, May.
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  25. Denny, Michael & Fuss, Melvyn A, 1977. "The Use of Approximation Analysis to Test for Separability and the Existence of Consistent Aggregates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 404-18, June.
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  27. Greenwood, Jeremy & Yorukoglu, Mehmet, 1997. "1974," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 49-95, June.
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  28. Haley, William J, 1976. "Estimation of the Earnings Profile from Optimal Human Capital Accumulation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1223-38, November.
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