Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence
Demand for less skilled workers decreased dramatically in the US and in other developed countries over the past two decades. We argue that pervasive skill-biased technological change rather than increased trade with the developing world is the principal culprit. The pervasiveness of this technological change is important for two reasons. First, it is an immediate and testable implication of technological change. Second, under standard assumptions, the more pervasive the skill-biased technological change the greater the increase in the embodied supply of less skilled workers and the greater the depressing effect on their relative wages through world goods prices. In contrast, in the Heckscher-Ohlin model with small open economies, the skill-bias of local technological changes does not affect wages. Thus, pervasiveness deals with a major criticism of skill-biased technological change as a cause. Testing the implications of pervasive, skill-biased technological change we find strong supporting evidence. First, across the OECD, most industries have increased the proportion of skilled workers employed despite rising or stable relative wages. Second, increases in demand for skills were concentrated in the same manufacturing industries in different developed countries.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 113, no. 4 (November 1998): 1245-1280.|
|Note:||ITI LS PR|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "What's the Use of Factor Contents?," NBER Working Papers 5448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lawrence F. Katz & Ana L. Revenga, 1989. "Changes in the Structure of Wages: The U.S. versus Japan," NBER Working Papers 3021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995.
"Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages,"
Department of Economics
95-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
- Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Papers 95-14, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
- Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," NBER Working Papers 5121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hanson, G.H. & Harrison, A., 1995.
"Trade, Technology and Wage Inequality,"
95-20, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
- David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997.
"Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?,"
NBER Working Papers
5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
- David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
- Kenneth R Troske, 1995.
"The Worker-Establishment Characteristics Database,"
95-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Edward E. Leamer, 1994. "Trade, Wages and Revolving Door Ideas," NBER Working Papers 4716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:fth:prinin:377 is not listed on IDEAS
- Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
- Krugman, Paul R., 2000.
"Technology, trade and factor prices,"
Journal of International Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 51-71, February.
- Donald Siegel, 1998. "The Impact Of Technological Change On Employment: Evidence From A Firm-Level Survey Of Long Island Manufacturers," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2-4), pages 227-246.
- McKinley L. Blackburn & David E. Bloom & Richard B. Freeman, 1989. "The Declining Economic Position of Less-Skilled American Males," NBER Working Papers 3186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Reflections on the Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven J. Davis, 1992.
"Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages,"
in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Working Papers 4085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:pri:indrel:dsp01qb98mf459 is not listed on IDEAS
- Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1996. "With What Skills Are Computers a Complement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 258-62, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6166. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.