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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 in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2012, [Online First]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4258
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  1. 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).
  2. Coen Teuling & Thijs van Rens, 2001. "Education, growth and income inequality," Economics Working Papers 942, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2006.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  4. Michael P. Keane & Eswar Prasad, 1993. "The Relation Between Skill Levels and the Cyclical Variability of Employment, Hours, and Wages," IMF Working Papers 93/44, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 1998. "Are technology improvements contractionary?," International Finance Discussion Papers 625, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
  8. Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
  9. 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.
  10. Jordi Gali, 1999. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 249-271, March.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2008. "Are Structural VARs with Long-Run Restrictions Useful in Developing Business Cycle Theory?," NBER Working Papers 14430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. John 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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