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Skill-Biased Change in Entrepreneurial Technology

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  • Poschke, Markus

    () (McGill University)

Abstract

In contrast to the very large literature on skill-biased technical change among workers, there is hardly any work on the importance of skills for the entrepreneurs who employ those workers, and in particular on their evolution over time. This paper proposes a simple theory of skill-biased change in entrepreneurial technology that fits with cross-country, historical and micro evidence. For this, it introduces two additional features into an otherwise standard occupational choice, heterogeneous firm model à la Lucas (1978): technological change does not benefit all potential entrepreneurs equally, and there is a positive relationship between an individual's potential payoffs in working and in entrepreneurship. If some firms consistently benefit more from technological progress than others, they stay closer to the frontier, and the others fall behind. Because wages rise for all workers, low-productivity entrepreneurs will then at some point exit and become workers. As a consequence, the entrepreneurship rate falls with income per capita, average firm size and firm size dispersion increase with income per capita, and "entrepreneurship out of necessity" falls with income per capita. The paper also documents, for two of the facts for the first time, that these are exactly the relationships prevailing in cross-country data. Quantitatively, the model fits the U.S. experience well. Using the parameters from a calibration to the U.S., the model also explains cross-country patterns quite well.

Suggested Citation

  • Poschke, Markus, 2010. "Skill-Biased Change in Entrepreneurial Technology," IZA Discussion Papers 5202, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5202
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Wulf, Julie, 2006. "Are perks purely managerial excess?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-33, January.
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    5. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-748, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2011. "Home Market Effects and the Single-Sector Melitz Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 3695, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Manuel Garcia-Santana & Roberto Ramos, 2012. "Dissecting the Size Distribution of Establishments Across Countries," Working Papers wp2012_1204, CEMFI.
    3. Lee, Sang Yoon Tim, 2012. "Entrepreneurs, Managers and Inequality," Working Papers 12-15, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    occupational choice; entrepreneurship; firm size; firm entry; growth; skill-biased technical change;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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