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Aggregation, the skill premium, and the two-level production function

Author

Listed:
  • McAdam, Peter
  • Willman, Alpo
  • León-Ledesma, Miguel A.

Abstract

We examine the two-level nested Constant Elasticity of Substitution production function where both capital and labor are disaggregated in two classes. We propose a normalized system estimation method to retrieve estimates of the inter- and intra-class elasticities of substitution and factoraugmenting technical progress coefficients. The system is estimated for US data for the 1963-2006 period. Our findings reveal that skilled and unskilled labor classes are gross substitutes, capital structures and equipment are gross complements, and aggregate capital and aggregate labor are gross complements with an elasticity of substitution close to 0.5. We discuss the implications of our findings and methodology for the analysis of the causes of the increase in the skill premium and, by implication, inequality in a growing economy. JEL Classification: E25, J23, J24, O40

Suggested Citation

  • McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo & León-Ledesma, Miguel A., 2011. "Aggregation, the skill premium, and the two-level production function," Working Paper Series 1400, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111400
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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp1400.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    3. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
    4. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
    5. repec:lsu:lsuwpp:2003-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
    7. Miguel A. León-Ledesma & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2010. "Identifying the Elasticity of Substitution with Biased Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1330-1357, September.
    8. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
    9. John Duffy & Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Perez-Sebastian, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity? Evidence from a Panel of Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 327-344, February.
    10. Piva, Mariacristina & Santarelli, Enrico & Vivarelli, Marco, 2005. "The skill bias effect of technological and organisational change: Evidence and policy implications," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 141-157, March.
    11. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, June.
    12. León-Ledesma, Miguel A. & McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2010. "In dubio pro CES - Supply estimation with mis-specified technical change," Working Paper Series 1175, European Central Bank.
    13. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2007. "Factor Substitution and Factor-Augmenting Technical Progress in the United States: A Normalized Supply-Side System Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 183-192, February.
    14. K. Sato, 1967. "A Two-Level Constant-Elasticity-of-Substitution Production Function," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 201-218.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2012. "The Normalized Ces Production Function: Theory And Empirics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 769-799, December.
    2. Matteo F. Ghilardi & Raffaele Rossi, 2014. "Aggregate Stability and Balanced‐Budget Rules," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(8), pages 1787-1809, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    aggregation; Factor-Augmenting Technical Progress; Factor Substitution; skill-premium; Two-level CES production function;

    JEL classification:

    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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