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Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle

  • Almut Balleer
  • Thijs van Rens

Over the past two decades, technological progress in the United States has been biased towards skilled labor. What does this imply for business cycles? We construct a quarterly skill premium from the CPS and use it to identify skill-biased technology shocks in a VAR with long-run restrictions. Hours fall in response to skill-biased technology shocks, indicating that at least part of the technology-induced fall in total hours is due to a compositional shift in labor demand. Skill-biased technology shocks have no effect on the relative price of investment, suggesting that capital and skill are not complementary in aggregate production.

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File URL: http://research.barcelonagse.eu/tmp/working_papers/560.pdf
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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 560.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:560
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  1. Michael Keane & Eswar Prasad, 1993. "Skill Levels and the Cyclical Variability of Employment, Hours, and Wages," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(4), pages 711-743, December.
  2. Fabio Canova & David Lopez-Salido & Claudio Michelacci, 2010. "The effects of technology shocks on hours and output: a robustness analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(5), pages 755-773.
  3. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, May.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Christopher Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2004. "Can long-run restrictions identify technology shocks?," International Finance Discussion Papers 792, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557, July.
  7. Thomas Philippon & Ariell Reshef, 2009. "Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006," NBER Working Papers 14644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  9. repec:dgr:uvatin:20020001 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Matthew J. Lindquist, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 519-540, July.
  12. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
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