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Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence

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  • Daron Acemoglu

Abstract

This paper offers a model where firms decide what types of jobs to create and then search for suitable workers. When there are few skilled workers and the productivity gap between the skilled and the unskilled is small, firms create a single type of job and recruit all workers. An increase in the proportion of skilled workers or skill-biased technical change can create a qualitative change in the composition of jobs, increasing the demand for skills, wage inequality, and the unemployment rates for both groups. The paper provides some evidence that there has been a change in the composition of jobs in the U.S. during the past two decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6658
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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