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Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Real Exchange Rate

  • Matthias Gubler

    ()

  • Christoph Sax

    ()

    (University of Basel)

We sketch a model that shows how skill-biased technological change may reverse the classic Balassa-Samuelson effect, leading to a negative relationship between the productivity in the tradable sector and the real exchange rate. In a small open economy, export goods are produced with capital, high-skilled and low-skilled labor, and traded for imported consumption goods. Non-tradable services are produced with low-skilled labor only. A rise in the productivity of capital has two effects: (1) It may reduce the demand for labor in the tradable sector if the substitutability of low-skilled labor and capital in the tradable sector is high; and (2) it increases the demand for non-tradables and its labor input. Overall demand for low-skilled labor declines if the labor force of the tradable sector is large relative to the labor force of the non-tradable sector. This leads to lower wages and thus to lower prices and a real exchange rate depreciation.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel in its series Working papers with number 2012/08.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2012/08
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  1. Louis Dorrance Johnston & Menzie David Chinn, 1997. "Real Exchange Rate Levels, Productivity and Demand Shocks; Evidence From a Panel of 14 Countries," IMF Working Papers 97/66, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Jose De Gregorio & Holger C. Wolf, 1994. "Terms of Trade, Productivity, and the Real Exchange Rate," Working Papers 94-19, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  3. John A. James & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1984. "The Resolution of the Labor Scarcity Paradox," NBER Working Papers 1504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1985. "Purchasing Power Parity," NBER Working Papers 1591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Matthias Gubler & Christoph Sax, 2011. "The Balassa-Samuelson Effect Reversed: New Evidence from OECD Countries," Working papers 2011/09, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  6. Ehsan U. Choudhri & Lawrence L. Schembri, 2010. "Productivity, the Terms of Trade, and the Real Exchange Rate: Balassa-Samuelson Hypothesis Revisited," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(5), pages 924-936, November.
  7. Tommaso Mancini Griffoli & Christoph Meyer & Jean-Marc Natal & Attilio Zanetti, 2014. "Determinants of the Swiss Franc Real Exchange Rate," Working Papers 2014-08, Swiss National Bank.
  8. MacDonald, Ronald & Ricci, Luca Antonio, 2007. "Real exchange rates, imperfect substitutability, and imperfect competition," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 639-664, December.
  9. Konrad Adler & Christian Grisse, 2014. "Real exchange rates and fundamentals: robustness across alternative model specifications," Working Papers 2014-07, Swiss National Bank.
  10. Michael D. Bordo & Ehsan U. Choudhri & Giorgio Fazio & Ronald MacDonald, 2014. "The Real Exchange Rate in the Long Run: Balassa-Samuelson Effects Reconsidered," CESifo Working Paper Series 4870, CESifo Group Munich.
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