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

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  • Hui He

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hui He, 2009. "What Drives the Skill Premium: Technological Change or Demographic Variation?," Working Papers 200911, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200911
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    Cited by:

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    2. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & Wei Jiang & James Malley, 2017. "Targeted fiscal policy to increase employment and wages of unskilled workers," Studies in Economics 1704, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    3. Davoine, Thomas & Mankart, Jochen, 2017. "Changes in education, wage inequality and working hours over time," Discussion Papers 38/2017, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    4. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Asimakopoulos, Stylianos & Malley, James, 2019. "The Optimal Distribution Of The Tax Burden Over The Business Cycle," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(6), pages 2298-2337, September.
    5. Gonzalo Castex & Stanley Cho & Evgenia Dechter, 2021. "The Decline in Capital-Skill Complementarity," Discussion Papers 2021-06, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    6. Hui He, 2011. "Why Have Girls Gone to College? A Quantitative Examination of the Female College Enrollment Rate in the United States: 1955-1980," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 12(1), pages 41-64, May.
    7. Şerife Genç İleri, 2019. "Selective immigration policy and its impacts on Canada's native‐born population: A general equilibrium analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(3), pages 954-992, August.
    8. Stephen J. Turnovsky & Aditi Mitra, 2013. "The Interaction between Human and Physical Capital Accumulation and the Growth-Inequality Trade-off," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 26-75.
    9. Llavador, Humberto & Solano-García, Angel, 2011. "Immigration policy with partisan parties," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 134-142, February.
    10. Slavik, Ctirad & Yazici, Hakki, 2015. "Determinants of Wage and Earnings Inequality in the United States," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113021, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Stylianos Sakkas, 2021. "Redistributive policies in general equilibrium," JRC Working Papers on Territorial Modelling and Analysis 2021-08, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    12. Schäfer, Andreas, 2014. "Technological change, population dynamics, and natural resource depletion," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 122-136.
    13. Baja Daza, Gover & Fernández Tellería, Bernardo X. & Zavaleta Castellón, David, 2014. "Diminishing commodity prices and capital flight in a dutch disease and resource curse environment: The case of Bolivia," MPRA Paper 75702, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2014.
    14. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Jiang, Wei & Malley, James, 2015. "Fiscal multipliers in a two-sector search and matching model," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-67, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    15. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Jiang, Wei & Malley, James, 2015. "Fiscal multipliers in a two-sector search and matching model," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-67, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    16. Goel, Manisha, 2017. "Offshoring – Effects on technology and implications for the labor market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 217-239.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Skill Premium; Schooling Choice; Demographic and Technological Change; Capital-Skill Complementarity; Overlapping Generations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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