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Skills’ Substitutability and Technological Progress: U.S. States 1950-1990

  • Antonio Ciccone
  • Giovanni Peri

In this article we estimate the long-run aggregate elasticity of substitution between skilled and unskilled workers. This is an important parameter as it allows us to compute the skill biased technological progress (SBTP) from the evolution of relative wages. However, it is hard to estimate because skill supply is endogenous. We tackle the task by using instruments proposed by the labor literature as sources of exogenous variation of schooling achievements across U.S. States. They are the state laws on Compulsory Schooling Attendance and on Child Labor. We then calculate SBTP and, using growth accounting, we calculate Hicks neutral technological progress (HNTP) for U.S. states in each decade between 1950 and 1990.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1024.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1024
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  1. Ciccone, Antonio & Peri, Giovanni, 2002. "Identifying Human Capital Externalities: Theory with an Application to US Cities," IZA Discussion Papers 488, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Hendricks, Lutz A., 2002. "How Important is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," Staff General Research Papers 11409, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Chao, John Chao & Norman R. Swanson, 2003. "Consistent Estimation with a Large Number of Weak Instruments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1417, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1998. "Appropriate Technology And Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1025-1054, November.
  5. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "Voting with Your Children: A Positive Analysis of Child Labor Laws," UCLA Economics Working Papers 828, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  7. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, June.
  8. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "The World Technology Frontier," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 499-522, June.
  9. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-78, September.
  10. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2002. "What Explains the Industrial Revolution in East Asia? Evidence From the Factor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 502-526, June.
  12. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
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