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Accelerated Technological Progress - An Explanation for Wage Dispersion and a Possible Solution to the Productivity Paradox

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  • Nikutowski, Oliver

Abstract

Due to scarcity considerations an increase in the supply of college graduates should reduce the premium for this kind of qualification. Therefore it seems quite contradictory that a tremendous educational expansion in the USA is accompanied by rising wage dispersion (overall and between educational groups). A second seemingly paradox development, which occured simultaneously, is the reduction of the total factor productivity during the emergence of the computerage - the so called productivity paradox. This contribution offers a simple unified solution to both of these puzzles and explains the educational expansion by assuming accelerated technological progress: An increase in the speed of technological progress raises the economic value of prospective periods and therefore works in favor of timeconsuming higher qualifications. The resulting educational expansion firstly goes along with a composition effect which leads to wage dispersion. Secondly the additional absence from the labor market of some more able individuals, due to the longer qualification, as well as an increasing share of individuals who choose a less productive qualification may lead to a transitory slowdown of the productivity growth rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikutowski, Oliver, 2007. "Accelerated Technological Progress - An Explanation for Wage Dispersion and a Possible Solution to the Productivity Paradox," Discussion Papers in Economics 1925, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:1925
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage Dispersion; Productivity Paradox; Inequality; Distribution; Technological Progress; Technological Change; SBTC; Educational Expansion; Total Factor Productivity; Educational Signaling; Real Wage Losses;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J82 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Labor Force Composition
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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