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Firm Heterogeneity in Capital/Labor Ratios and Wage Inequality

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  • Leonardi, Marco

    () (University of Milan)

Abstract

This paper provides some empirical evidence and a theory of the relationship between residual wage inequality and the increasing dispersion of capital/labor ratios across firms. I document the increasing variance of capital/labor ratios across firms in the US labor market. I also show that the increase in the capital intensity variance across firms is associated with the increasing wage variance across workers. To explain this empirical fact, I adopt a search model where firms differ in their optimal capital investment. The decline in the relative price of equipment capital makes the firm distribution of capital/labor ratios more dispersed. In a frictional labor market, this force generates wage dispersion among identical workers. Simple calibration of the model indicates that the dispersion of capital/labor ratios can account for about one third of the total increase in residual wage inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardi, Marco, 2003. "Firm Heterogeneity in Capital/Labor Ratios and Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 909, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp909
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emami Namini, Julian & Facchini, Giovanni & Lopez, Ricardo, 2011. "Export growth and factor market competition: theory and evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 8256, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Keiko Ito & Sébastien Lechevalier, 2009. "The evolution of the productivity dispersion of firms: a reevaluation of its determinants in the case of Japan," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 145(3), pages 405-429, October.
    3. Yannick Kalantzis & Ryo Kambayashi & Sébastien Lechevalier, 2012. "Wage and Productivity Differentials in Japan: The Role of Labor Market Mechanisms," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 26(4), pages 514-541, December.
    4. Silvio Contessi & Francesca de Nicola & Li Li, 2014. "International trade, female labor and entrepreneurship in MENA countries," Chapters,in: The Economic and Political Aftermath of the Arab Spring, chapter 4, pages 106-140 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Yip, Chi Man, 2010. "Can't SBTC explain the U.S. wage inequality dynamics?," MPRA Paper 31198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Emami Namini, Julian, 2014. "The short and long-run impact of globalization if firms differ in factor input ratios," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 37-64.
    7. Julian Emami Namini, 2009. "International Trade with Firm Heterogeneity in Factor Shares," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-020/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Silvio Contessi & Pierangelo De Pace, 2011. "The (non-)resiliency of foreign direct investment in the United States during the 2007-2009 financial crisis," Working Papers 2011-037, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    9. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:260-280 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Julian Emami Namini & Giovanni Facchini & Ricardo A. Lopez, 2011. "Export Growth and Factor Market Competition: Theory and Some Evidence," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-013/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Mauro Caselli, 2014. "Trade, skill-biased technical change and wages in Mexican manufacturing," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 336-348, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital intensity; wage inequality; search models;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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