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A Microfoundation for Production Functions: Assignment of Heterogenous Workers to Heterogenous Jobs

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  • Dupuy, Arnaud

    () (University of Luxembourg)

Abstract

In very different fields of economics, economic inference and policy evaluation require economists to parametrize a production function that links measures of input factors to measures of output. While doing so, strong assumptions are implicitly made about microeconomic variables governing the shape of the aggregate production function. In this paper, I develop an assignment model that provides a microeconomic foundation for aggregate production functions. The shape of the production function depends crucially on the distribution of workers and jobs and the type of technological changes depends crucially on the evolution of these distributions. Sufficient and necessary conditions are provided for the production function to be of the Constant Ratio of Elasticities of Substitution form, a form nesting the broadly used Constant Elasticity of Substitution form. This model provides a way to evaluate how stringent assumptions about the type of production function or technological change are by comparing the implied distribution of jobs and its evolution over time to observations of the distribution of jobs and its evolution over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Dupuy, Arnaud, 2008. "A Microfoundation for Production Functions: Assignment of Heterogenous Workers to Heterogenous Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 3312, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3312
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Teulings, Coen N, 1995. "The Wage Distribution in a Model of the Assignment of Skills to Jobs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 280-315, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "Understanding the Technology of Computer Technology Diffusion: Explaining Computer Adoption Patterns and Implications for the Wage Structure," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 17(3-4), pages 37-70, September.
    2. Vallizadeh, Ehsan & Muysken, Joan & Ziesemer, Thomas, 2015. "Offshoring of medium-skill jobs, polarization, and productivity effect : implications for wages and low-skill unemployment," IAB Discussion Paper 201507, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    3. HIRAGUCHI Ryoji, 2015. "On the Stochastic Macro-equilibrium and a Microfoundation for the Production Function," Discussion papers 15040, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Mangin, Sephorah, 2017. "A theory of production, matching, and distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 376-409.
    5. Arnaud Dupuy, 2008. "The Assignment of Workers to Tasks, Wage Distribution, and Technical Change: A Critical Review," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 17(3-4), pages 12-36, September.
    6. DeCanio, Stephen J., 2016. "Robots and humans – complements or substitutes?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 280-291.
    7. Vladimir Matveenko, 2013. "Resources, Institutions And Technologies: Game Modeling Of Dual Relations," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 9(3), pages 7-28.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tasks assignment; microfoundations of production function; technical change;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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