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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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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 560.

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Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:560
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  1. 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.
  2. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2005. "Can Long-Run Restrictions Identify Technology Shocks?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1237-1278, December.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Are structural VARs with long-run restrictions useful in developing business cycle theory?," Staff Report 364, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. 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.
  6. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2003. "Identifying Human Capital Externalities: Theory with Applications," Working Papers 6, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Canova, Fabio & López-Salido, J David & Michelacci, Claudio, 2008. "The Effects of Technology Shocks on Hours and Output: A Robustness Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 6720, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  10. 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.
  11. Lindquist, Matthew J., 2002. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle," Research Papers in Economics 2002:14, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2003.
  12. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, September.
  13. 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.
  14. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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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