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High-Tech Capital Formation and Labor Composition in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: An Exploratory Analysis

  • Ernst R. Berndt
  • Catherine J. Morrison
  • Larry S. Rosenblum

In this paper we report results of an exploratory empirical effort examining relationships between investments in high-tech information technology capital and the distribution of employment, both by occupation and by level of educational attainment. Our data cover the two-digit U.S. manufacturing industries. annually, 1968-86. We find that increases in the high-tech composition of capital (OF/K) are positively related to growth in white collar. non-production worker hours, and that increases in white collar hours account for most of the reduction in aggregate labor productivity associated with increases in high-tech capital. In terms of educational attainment, within the blue collar occupations we find clear evidence in support of skill upgrading toward more educated workers occurring along with increases in OF/K. While point estimates are not very precise, among white collar occupations we find that hours provided by the least and most educated workers increase with OF/K, while hours provided by those with high-school and some college education are adversely affected.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4010.

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Date of creation: Mar 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Econometrics, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 9-43, (1994) Annals of Econometrics
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4010
Note: PR
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  1. Berndt, Ernst R. & Morrison, Catherine J., 1992. "High-tech capital formation and economic performance in U.S. manufacturing industries : an exploratory analysis," Working papers 3419-92., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  2. Catherine J. Morrison & Ernst R. Berndt, 1991. "Assessing the Productivity of Information Technology Equipment in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 3582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul Osterman, 1986. "The impact of computers on the employment of clerks and managers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(2), pages 175-186, January.
  4. Morrison, C. J. & Berndt, E. R., 1981. "Short-run labor productivity in a dynamic model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 339-365, August.
  5. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 1987. "The demand for labor in the long run," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-471 Elsevier.
  6. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  7. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
  8. Allen, Steven G, 2001. "Technology and the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 440-83, April.
  9. 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 964-76, December.
  10. Kesselman, Jonathan R & Williamson, Samuel H & Berndt, Ernst R, 1977. "Tax Credits for Employment Rather Than Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 339-49, June.
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