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Firm Heterogeneity in Capital labor Ratios and Wage Inequality

  • Leonardi, Marco

This paper documents the increasing dispersion of capital-labor ratios across firms in the US and provides some empirical evidence of a positive correlation at the two-digit industry level between the dispersion of capital-labor ratios across firms and residual wage inequality. To explain this empirical fact, the paper adopts a search model where firms differ in their optimal capital investment. The exogenous decline in the relative price of equipment capital makes the distributions of capital-labor ratios more dispersed. In a frictional labor market, this force generates wage dispersion among identical workers. OLS estimates of the relationship between capital dispersion and the relative price of equipment capital support the main hypothesis of the model.

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Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt1g9514wh.

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Date of creation: 30 Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt1g9514wh
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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Timothy Dunne & John Haltiwanger & Lucia Foster, 2000. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing: The Role of Computer Investment," NBER Working Papers 7465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Peter Cappelli & Steffi L Wilk, 1997. "Understanding Selection Processes: Organization Determinants and Performance Outcomes," Working Papers 97-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Technological Acceleration, Skill Transferability, And The Rise In Residual Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 297-338, February.
  12. Doms, Mark & Dunne, Timothy & Troske, Kenneth R, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-90, February.
  13. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
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  16. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  18. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  19. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
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