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What Drives the Skill Premium: Technological Change or Demographic Variation?

  • Hui He

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

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This paper quantitatively examines the effects of two exogenous driving forces, investment-specific technological change (ISTC) and the demographic change known as “the baby boom and the baby bust,” on the evolution of the skill premium in the postwar U.S. economy. I develop an overlapping generations general equilibrium model with endogenous discrete schooling choice. The production technology features capital-skill complementarity as in Krusell et al. (2000). ISTC, through capital-skill complementarity, raises the relative demand for skilled labor, while demographic variation affects the skill premium through changing the age structure and hence relative supply of skilled labor. I find that demographic change is more important in shaping the skill premium before 1980. Since then, ISTC takes over to drive the dramatic increase in the skill premium.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_09-11.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200911.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200911
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  1. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2013. "The Evolution Of Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 915-936, 08.
  3. Hui He & Zheng Liu, 2008. "Investment-Specific Technological Change, Skill Accumulation, and Wage Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 314-334, April.
  4. Chris Papageorgiou & John Duffy & Fidel Perez-Sebastian, . "Capital-Skill complementarity? Evidence from a Panel of Countries," Departmental Working Papers 2003-12, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  5. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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  16. Hui He, 2009. "Why Have Girls Gone to College? A Quantitative Examination of the Female College Enrollment Rate in the United States: 1955-1980," Working Papers 200912, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  17. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230, 04.
  18. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
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