IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/applec/v43y2009i7p811-821.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Skill-biased technological change and endogenous benefits: the dynamics of unemployment and wage inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Matthias Weiss
  • Alfred Garloff

Abstract

In this article, we study the effect of skill-biased technological change on unemployment and wage inequality in the presence of a link between social benefits and average income. In this case, an increase in the productivity of skilled workers, and hence their wage, leads to an increase in average income and hence in benefits. The increased fallback income, in turn, makes unskilled workers ask for higher wages. As higher wages are not justified by corresponding productivity increases, unemployment rises. Generally, we show that skill-biased technological change leads to increasing unemployment of the unskilled and to a moderately increasing wage inequality when benefits are endogenous. The model provides a theoretical explanation for diverging dynamics in wage inequality and unemployment under different social benefits regimes. Analysing the social legislation in 14 countries, we find that benefits are linked to the evolution of average income in Continental Europe but not in the US and the UK. Given this institutional difference, our model predicts that skill-biased technological change leads to rising unemployment in Continental Europe and rising wage inequality in the US and the UK.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Weiss & Alfred Garloff, 2009. "Skill-biased technological change and endogenous benefits: the dynamics of unemployment and wage inequality," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(7), pages 811-821.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:43:y:2009:i:7:p:811-821 DOI: 10.1080/00036840802599933
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00036840802599933
    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. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-283.
    2. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
    3. R. E. Baldwin & G. G. Cain, "undated". "Shifts in U.S. Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology, and Factor Endowments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1132-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 7-72.
    5. Olivier Blanchard, 2006. "European unemployment: the evolution of facts and ideas," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(45), pages 5-59, January.
    6. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 715-741.
    7. 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, pages 1169-1213.
    8. Robert E. Baldwin & Glen G. Cain, 2000. "Shifts In Relative U.S. Wages: The Role Of Trade, Technology, And Factor Endowments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 580-595.
    9. Paul Beaudry & David Green, 2000. "The Changing Structure of Wages in the US and Germany: What Explains the Differences?," NBER Working Papers 7697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Weiss & Alfred Garloff, 2009. "Skill-biased technological change and endogenous benefits: the dynamics of unemployment and wage inequality," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(7), pages 811-821.
    2. Muysken, Joan & Vallizadeh, Ehsan & Ziesemer, Thomas, 2012. "Migration, Unemployment, and Over-qualification: A Specific Factors-Model Approach," EconStor Preprints 67479, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    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:taf:applec:v:43:y:2009:i:7:p:811-821. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/RAEC20 .

    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 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.