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Cyclical Skill-Biased Technological Change

  • Balleer, Almut

    ()

    (RWTH Aachen University)

  • van Rens, Thijs

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

Over the past two decades, technological progress has been biased towards making skilled labor more productive. What does skill-biased technological change imply for business cycles? To answer this question, we construct a quarterly series for the skill premium from the CPS and use it to identify skill-biased technology shocks in a VAR with long run restrictions. We find that hours worked fall in response to skill-biased, but not in response to skill-neutral improvements in technology. Skill-biased technology shocks are associated with increases in the relative price of investment, indicating that capital and skill are substitutes in aggregate production.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4258.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Publication status: published as 'Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle' in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2013, 95(4), 1222-1237
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4258
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  1. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Miles S. Kimball, 2004. "Are technology improvements contractionary?," Working Paper Series WP-04-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
  3. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Are structural VARs with long-run restrictions useful in developing business cycle theory?," Staff Report 364, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Galí, Jordi, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1996. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," RCER Working Papers 420, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  9. Teulings, Coen N & van Rens, Thijs, 2003. "Education, Growth and Income Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3863, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Michael P. Keane & Eswar S Prasad, 1993. "The Relation Between Skill Levels and the Cyclical Variability of Employment, Hours, and Wages," IMF Working Papers 93/44, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Jordi Galí & Pau Rabanal, 2005. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the Real Business Cycle Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 225-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2096, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  16. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  17. John G. Fernald, 2012. "A quarterly, utilization-adjusted series on total factor productivity," Working Paper Series 2012-19, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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