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Directed Sector and Skill-Specific Technological Change: The Development of Wages for the High and Low Skilled

This paper presents a dynamic two sector, two skill groups model of endogenous skill and sector specific technological change. The sectors refer to a "high-tech” and a "low-tech” sector of an economy. The direction of technological change is driven by market forces determined by the skill composition of the work force. It is shown that a change in this skill composition - a higher growth rate of the high skilled workforce in the "high-tech” sector than in the "low-tech” sector - leads to an increasing relative wage of the high skilled despite the fact that the aggregate supply of the high skilled might rise. This directed technological adjustment can easily overcome the usual substitution effect which would lead the relative wage to fall. The important result of the model is that the result does not depend on high values of the elasticity of substitution as necessary in other models of directed technological change, e.g. Acemoglu (1998, 2001). Further some of these models can be interpreted as special cases of the present model. Some open economy extensions show how effects of the mentioned change in the skill composition of the work force can spill over from one country to another if both countries engage in free trade and if the state of technology is determined globally.

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File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-augsburg.de/vwl/institut/paper/236.pdf
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Paper provided by Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 236.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aug:augsbe:0236
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  1. Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2002. "Does the sector bias of skill-biased technical change explain changing skill premia?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1757-1783, December.
  2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "Allocation of Heterogeneous Capital Goods in a Two-Sector Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 10(3), pages 373-90, October.
  4. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230.
  5. Acemoglu, D. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Productivity Differences," Papers 660, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  6. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Labor- And Capital-Augmenting Technical Change," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-37, 03.
  10. Daron Acemoglu, 2001. "Directed Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 8287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rivera-Batiz, Luis A & Romer, Paul M, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-55, May.
  12. Kiley, Michael T, 1999. "The Supply of Skilled Labour and Skill-Biased Technological Progress," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 708-24, October.
  13. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "How Much Has De-Unionisation Contributed to the Rise in Male Earnings Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 3826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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