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Capital-Skill complementarity? Evidence from a Panel of Countries

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Abstract

Since Griliches (1969), researchers have been intrigued by the idea that physical capital and skilled labor are relatively more complementary than physical capital and unskilled labor. This capital-skill complementarity hypothesis has received renewed attention recently, as researchers have suggested that this phenomenon might account for rising wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers in several developed countries. In this paper we consider the cross-country evidence for capital--skill complementarity using a time-series, cross-section panel of 73 developed and less developed countries over a 25 year period. In particular, we focus on three empirical issues. First, what is the best specification of the aggregate production technology to address the capital-skill complementarity hypothesis. Second, how should we measure skilled labor? Finally, is there any cross-country evidence in support of the capital-skill complementarity hypothesis? Our main finding is that we are unable to reject the null hypothesis of no capital-skill complementarity using our panel data set.
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  • Chris Papageorgiou & John Duffy & Fidel Perez-Sebastian, 2003. "Capital-Skill complementarity? Evidence from a Panel of Countries," Departmental Working Papers 2003-012, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2003-012
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    1. Karnit Flug & Zvi Hercowitz, 2000. "Equipment Investment and the Relative Demand for Skilled Labor: International Evidence," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(3), pages 461-485, July.
    2. Fallon, P R & Layard, P R G, 1975. "Capital-Skill Complementarity, Income Distribution, and Output Accounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 279-301, April.
    3. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    5. Duffy, John & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2000. "A Cross-Country Empirical Investigation of the Aggregate Production Function Specification," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 87-120, March.
    6. Thursby, Jerry, 1980. "Alternative CES Estimation Techniques," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(2), pages 295-299, May.
    7. Bergstrom, Villy & Panas, Epaminondas E, 1992. "How Robust Is the Capital-Skill Complementarity Hypothesis?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 540-546, August.
    8. Stokey, Nancy L, 1996. "Free Trade, Factor Returns, and Factor Accumulation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 421-447, December.
    9. Kumar, T Krishna & Gapinski, James H, 1974. "Nonlinear Estimation of the CES Production Parameters: A Monte Carlo Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-567, November.
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    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • 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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