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Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle

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  • Almut Balleer
  • Thijs van Rens

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Almut Balleer & Thijs van Rens, 2012. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle," Working Papers 560, Barcelona School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:560
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    Cited by:

    1. Pi, Jiancai & Zhang, Pengqing, 2018. "Skill-biased technological change and wage inequality in developing countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 347-362.
    2. Wolfgang Lechthaler & Mariya Mileva, 2019. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality: new insights from a dynamic trade model with heterogeneous firms and comparative advantage," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 155(3), pages 407-457, August.
    3. Shim, Myungkyu & Yang, Hee-Seung, 2016. "New stylized facts on occupational employment and their implications: Evidence from consistent employment data," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 402-415.
    4. Audra Bowlus & Lance Lochner & Chris Robinson & Eda Suleymanoglu, 2021. "Wages, Skills, and Skill-Biased Technical Change: The Canonical Model Revisited," CESifo Working Paper Series 9212, CESifo.
    5. Sébastien Bock & Idriss Fontaine, 2020. "Routine-Biased Technological Change and Hours Worked over the Business Cycle," Working Papers halshs-02982145, HAL.
    6. Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 2017. "Is Inequality Designed or Preordained?," SAGE Open, , vol. 7(2), pages 21582440177, April.
    7. Fatih Guvenen & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2014. "The Nature of Countercyclical Income Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 621-660.
    8. Castex, Gonzalo & (Stanley) Cho, Sang-Wook & Dechter, Evgenia, 2022. "The decline in capital-skill complementarity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    9. Mennuni, Alessandro, 2013. "Labor Force Composition and Aggregate Fluctuations," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1302, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    10. Hutter, Christian & Weber, Enzo, 2017. "The effects of skill-biased technical change on productivity flattening and hours worked," IAB-Discussion Paper 201732, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    11. Andri Chassamboulli & Idriss Fontaine & Andri Chassamboulli & Ismael Galvez-Iniesta & Pedro Gomes, 2022. "Immigration and Labour Market Flows," TEPP Working Paper 2022-12, TEPP.
    12. Christian Hutter & Enzo Weber, 2019. "A note on the effects of skill-biased technical change on productivity flattening," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(2), pages 772-784.
    13. Perez-Laborda, Alejandro & Perez-Sebastian, Fidel, 2020. "Capital-skill complementarity and biased technical change across US sectors," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    14. J.I.Lopez & V. Olivella Moppett, 2014. "Financial Shocks and the Cyclical Behavior of Skilled and Unskilled Unemployment," Working papers 496, Banque de France.
    15. Adejumo, Oluwabunmi O. & Adejumo, Akintoye V. & Aladesanmi, Temitope A., 2020. "Technology-driven growth and inclusive growth- implications for sustainable development in Africa," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    16. Naoko Hara & Munechika Katayama & Ryo Kato, 2014. "Rising Skill Premium?: The Roles of Capital-Skill Complementarity and Sectoral Shifts in a Two-Sector Economy," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 14-E-9, Bank of Japan.
    17. Gangopadhyay, Kausik & Nishimura, Atsushi & Pal, Rupayan, 2016. "Can the information technology revolution explain the incidence of co-movement of skill premium and stock prices?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 107-120.
    18. Maté Fodor, 2016. "Essays on Education, Wages and Technology," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/239691, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    19. Juan A. Correa & Miguel Lorca & Francisco Parro, 2019. "Capital–Skill Complementarity: Does Capital Composition Matter?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 121(1), pages 89-116, January.
    20. Marchand, Joseph, 2020. "Routine Tasks were Demanded from Workers during an Energy Boom," Working Papers 2020-8, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    21. Hutter, Christian & Weber, Enzo, 2021. "Labour market miracle, productivity debacle: Measuring the effects of skill-biased and skill-neutral technical change," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    22. Rujin, Svetlana, 2019. "What are the effects of technology shocks on international labor markets?," Ruhr Economic Papers 806, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    23. Lechthaler, Wolfgang & Mileva, Mariya, 2019. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality: new insights from a dynamic trade model with heterogeneous firms and comparative advantage," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 266159, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    24. Gu, Ran, 2019. "Specific Human Capital and Real Wage Cyclicality: An Application to Postgraduate Wage Premium," MPRA Paper 98027, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    25. Hutter, Christian & Weber, Enzo, 2017. "Labour market effects of wage inequality and skill-biased technical change in Germany," IAB-Discussion Paper 201705, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    skill-biased technology; Skill Premium; VAR; long-run restrictions; capital-skill complementarity; business cycle;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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

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