IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Recent Twists of the Wage Structure and Technology Diffusion

  • James D Adams

This paper is an empirical study of the impact on U.S. wage structure of domestic technology, foreign technology, and import penetration. A model is presented which combines factor proportions theory with a version of growth theory. The model, which assumes two levels of skill, suggests that domestic technology raises both wages, while foreign technology, on a simple interpretation, lowers both. Trade at a constant technology, as usual, lowers the wage of that class of labor used intensively by the affected industry, and raises the other wage. The findings support the predictions of the model for domestic technology. On the other hand, they suggest that technological change, and perhaps other factors, have obscured the role of factor proportions in the data. Indeed, foreign technology and trade have the same effect on wages at different skill levels, not the opposite effects suggested by factor proportions. Finally, a simple diffusion story, in which foreign technology lowers all U.S. wages, is also rejected. Instead, uniformly higher U.S. wages, not lower, appear to be associated with the technology and trade of the oldest trading partners of the U.S., the economies of the West. Not so for Asia, especially the smaller countries which have recently accelerated their trade with the U.S. Their effects are uniformly negative on wages, suggesting a distinction between shock and long run effects of foreign technology and trade.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 94-5.

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:94-5
Contact details of provider: Postal: 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233
Phone: (301) 763-6460
Fax: (301) 763-5935
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," NBER Working Papers 3201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
  3. James D Adams & Leo Sveikauskas, 1993. "Academic Science, Industrial R&D, and the Growth of Inputs," Working Papers 93-1, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  6. Robert Evenson, 1984. "International Invention: Implications for Technology Market Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 89-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
  8. George J. Borjas & Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "Foreign Competition, Market Power and Wage Inequality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  10. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
  11. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 253-66, April.
  12. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Jaffe, Adam B, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
  14. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  16. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:94-5. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Fariha Kamal)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.