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

Author

Listed:
  • Hui He

    (University of Hawaii)

  • Zheng Liu

    (Emory University)

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Hui He & Zheng Liu, 2008. "Investment-Specific Technological Change, Skill Accumulation, and Wage Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 314-334, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:06-160
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2007.08.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Skill premium; Skill accumulation; Investment-specific technological change; Capital-skill complementarity;

    JEL classification:

    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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