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Factor Endowments and the Returns to Skill: New Evidence from the American Past

  • Joseph P. Kaboski
  • Trevon D. Logan

Existing skill-biased technical change theory predicts that differences in factor endowments will affect technology adoption and the return to skill. We document regional variation in endowments in the American past. We then estimate the returns to education using a new data source: a report from the Commissioner of Education in 1909. We find significant variation in the returns to schooling aligned with differences in resource endowments, with large (within-occupation) returns in the Midwest and Southwest but much lower returns in the South and West. Our results appear generalizable to broader returns to education in the United States.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/660297
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/660297
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Human Capital.

Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 111 - 152

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/660297
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JHC/

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  1. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John M. Abowd & John Haltiwanger & Julia Lane & Kevin L. McKinney & Kristin Sandusky, 2007. "Technology and the Demand for Skill:An Analysis of Within and Between Firm Differences," NBER Working Papers 13043, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Endogenous skill bias in technology adoption: city-level evidence from the IT revolution," Working Paper Series 2006-24, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
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