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Skilled labor -- augmenting technical progress in U.S. manufacturing

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  • James A. Kahn
  • Jong-Soo Lim

Abstract

This paper examines the role of skilled labor in the growth of total factor productivity. We use panel data from manufacturing industries within the United States to assess the extent to which productivity growth in yearly cross-sections of U.S. manufacturing industries is tied to industry shares of skilled labor inputs. We find evidence of an explosion in skilled-labor augmenting technological progress during the period from approximately 1972 to 1981, which precedes a period of suddenly increasing wage inequality and rapid growth in the relative wages of educated and experienced workers. We also provide evidence from aggregate manufacturing data that confirm this shift pre- and post-1972, and show that all of the findings are broadly consistent with the behavior of relative wages and employment.

Suggested Citation

  • James A. Kahn & Jong-Soo Lim, 1997. "Skilled labor -- augmenting technical progress in U.S. manufacturing," Research Paper 9738, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednrp:9738
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 1996. "Can Technology Improvements Cause Productivity Slowdowns?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 209-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Binswanger, Hans P, 1974. "The Measurement of Technical Change Biases with Many Factors of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 964-976, December.
    3. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089.
    5. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    6. Dunne, Timothy & Haltiwanger, John & Troske, Kenneth R., 1997. "Technology and jobs: secular changes and cyclical dynamics," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 107-178, June.
    7. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-362, June.
    8. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    9. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    10. repec:fth:prinin:377 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor productivity ; Technology ; Manufactures;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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