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Recent Twists of the Wage Structure and Technology Diffusion

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  • James D Adams

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • James D Adams, 1994. "Recent Twists of the Wage Structure and Technology Diffusion," Working Papers 94-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:94-5
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1994/CES-WP-94-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
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    5. 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.
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    8. Wolfgang F. Stolper & Paul A. Samuelson, 1941. "Protection and Real Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 58-73.
    9. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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 410-442, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas W Dwyer, 1995. "Whittling Away At Productivity Dispersion," Working Papers 95-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

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