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A Theory of Defensive Skill-based Innovation and Globalization

  • Thoenig, Mathias
  • Verdier, Thierry

This Paper considers a dynamic model of innovations in which firms can endogenously bias the direction of technological change. Both in a North-North and North-South context, we show that, when globalization triggers an increased threat of technological leapfrogging or imitation, firms tend to respond to that threat by biasing the direction of their innovations towards skilled labour-intensive technologies. We show that this process of defensive skill biased innovations generates an increase in wage inequalities in both regions. We then discuss suggestive empirical evidence of the existence of defensive skill biased technical change.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3416.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3416
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  1. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, March.
  3. Edward E. Leamer, 1994. "Trade, Wages and Revolving Door Ideas," NBER Working Papers 4716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Neary, J Peter, 2002. "Foreign Competition and Wage Inequality," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 680-93, November.
  5. 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.
  6. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Technology, Trade, and Factor Prices," NBER Working Papers 5355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Multinational Firms and The New Trade Theory," NBER Working Papers 5036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Thoenig, Mathias & Verdier, Thierry, 2000. "Trade Induced Technical Bias And Wage Inequalities: A Theory Of Defensive Innovations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  10. Amsden, Alice H, 1983. "'De-Skilling,' Skilled Commodities, and the NICs' Emerging Competitive Advantage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 333-37, May.
  11. Paul Segerstrom & Elias Dinopoulos, 1999. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 450-472, June.
  12. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2002. "The Skill Bias of World Trade," KITeS Working Papers 129, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2001.
  13. Ekholm, Karolina & Midelfart, Karen Helene, 2005. "Relative wages and trade-induced changes in technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1637-1663, August.
  14. Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1993. "In search of useful theory of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 108-108, April.
  15. Evenson, Robert E. & Westphal, Larry E., 1995. "Technological change and technology strategy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2209-2299 Elsevier.
  16. Maurin, Eric & Thesmar, David & Thoenig, Mathias, 2002. "Globalization and the demand for skill: An Export Based Channel," CEPR Discussion Papers 3406, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Borjas, George J & Ramey, Valerie A, 1994. "Time-Series Evidence on the," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 10-16, May.
  18. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230, 04.
  19. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Freeman, Richard B., 1987. "Demand for education," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 357-386 Elsevier.
  21. Williams, J.R., 1992. "How Sustainable is your Competitive Advantage?," GSIA Working Papers 1992-03, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  22. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
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