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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
Date of revision:
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. Gali, J., 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," Working Papers 96-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Michael P. Keane & Eswar S. Prasad, 1991. "The relation between skill levels and the cyclical variability of employment, hours and wages," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 41, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. 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.
  4. Matthew J. Lindquist, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 519-540, July.
  5. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," NBER Working Papers 11628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John G. Fernald, 2012. "A quarterly, utilization-adjusted series on total factor productivity," Working Paper Series 2012-19, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Coen N. Teulings & Thijs van Rens, 2002. "Education, Growth and Income Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-001/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 05 Mar 2003.
  11. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Miles S. Kimball, 2004. "Are technology improvements contractionary?," Working Paper Series WP-04-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  12. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J. & McGrattan, Ellen R., 2008. "Are structural VARs with long-run restrictions useful in developing business cycle theory?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1337-1352, November.
  15. 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.
  16. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. 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.
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