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Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle

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Abstract

This study investigates the implications of capital-skill complementarity for the cyclical behavior of wage inequality. This is done in a dynamic general equilibrium model which extends the standard real business cycle model in three ways. First, the representative agent is replaced by two agent types, skilled and unskilled. Second, the standard, two-factor Cobb-Douglas production function is replaced by a more general, four-factor production function which allows for capital-skill complementarity. Third, the model includes both neutral and investment-specific technological change. The model successfully accounts for both the volatility and the cyclical behavior of the skill premium in the United States. The results of this study suggest that capital-skill complementarity may be an important determinant of wage inequality over the business cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindquist, Matthew J., 2002. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle," Research Papers in Economics 2002:14, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2002_0014
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycle; capital-skill complementarity; inequality; skill premium;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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