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Extending the Race between Education and Technology

Author

Listed:
  • David Autor
  • Claudia Goldin
  • Lawrence F. Katz

Abstract

The race between education and technology provides a canonical framework that does an excellent job of explaining U.S. wage structure changes across the twentieth century. The framework involves secular increases in the demand for more-educated workers from skill-biased technological change, combined with variations in the supply of skills from changes in educational access. We expand the analysis backwards and forwards. The framework helps explain rising skill differentials in the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, but needs to be augmented to illuminate the recent convexification of education returns and implied slowdown in the growth of the relative demand for college workers. Increased educational wage differentials explain 75 percent of the rise of U.S. wage inequality from 1980 to 2000 as compared to 38 percent for 2000 to 2017.

Suggested Citation

  • David Autor & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2020. "Extending the Race between Education and Technology," NBER Working Papers 26705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26705
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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