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The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology: Some Empirical Evidence

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  • Ann P. Bartel
  • Frank R. Lichtenberg

Abstract

In this paper we estimate variants of a labor demand equation derived from a (restricted variable) cost function in which "experience"on a technology (proxied by the mean age of the capital stock) enters "non-neutrally." Our specification of the underlying cost function isbased on the hypothesis that highly educated workers have a comparative advantage with respect to the adjustment to and implementation of new technologies. Our empirical results are consistent with the implication of this hypothesis, that the relative demand for educated workers declines as the capital stock (and presumably the technology embodied therein) ages. According to our estimates, the education-distribution of employment depends more strongly on the age of equipment than on the age of plant, and the effect of changes in equipment age on labor demand is magnified in R&D-intensive industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann P. Bartel & Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1985. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology: Some Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1718 Note: LS PR
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Binswanger, Hans P, 1974. "The Measurement of Technical Change Biases with Many Factors of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 964-976, December.
    2. Pierre A. Mohnen & M. Ishaq Nadiri & Ingmar R. Prucha, 1984. "R&D, Production Structure, and Productivity Growth in the U.S., Japaneseand German Manufacturing Sectors," NBER Working Papers 1264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Interindustry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth: A Reexamination," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 241-250 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Welch, F, 1970. "Education in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 35-59, Jan.-Feb..
    6. Michael Denny & Melvyn Fuss, 1983. "The Effects of Factor Prices and Technological Change on the Occupational Demand for Labor: Evidence from Canadian Telecommunications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(2), pages 161-176.
    7. Frederic Scherer, 1984. "Using Linked Patent and R&D Data to Measure Interindustry Technology Flows," NBER Chapters,in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 417-464 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
    9. Jorgenson, Dale W, 1971. "Econometric Studies of Investment Behavior: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1111-1147, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dario Guarascio & Mario Pianta & Matteo Lucchese & Francesco Bogliacino, 2015. "Business cycles, technology and exports," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 32(2), pages 167-200, August.
    2. Jon Wisman, 2001. "Creative destruction and labor's options," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, pages 51-76.
    3. Bashir, Sadaf & Sadowski, B. M., 2014. "General purpose technologies: A survey, a critique and future research directions," 25th European Regional ITS Conference, Brussels 2014 101443, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    4. Andreea Mirica, 2014. "Higher Education – A Solution To Unemployment? Case Study: Romania," Romanian Statistical Review, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 62(3), pages 63-75, September.

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