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U.S. Wages in General Equilibrium: The Effects of Prices, Technology, and Factor Supplies, 1963-1991

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  • James Harrigan
  • Rita Balaban

Abstract

Wage inequality in the United States has increased, and many suspect that the main causes are changes in technology, international competition, and factor supplies. Our empirical model estimates the general equilibrium relationship between wages and technology, prices, and factor supplies. The model is based on the neoclassical theory of production, and is implemented by assuming that GDP is a function of prices, technology levels, and supplies of capital and different types of labor. We find that relative factor supply and relative price changes are both important in explaining the growing return to skill. In particular, we find that capital accumulation and the fall in the price of traded goods served to increase the return to education.

Suggested Citation

  • James Harrigan & Rita Balaban, 1999. "U.S. Wages in General Equilibrium: The Effects of Prices, Technology, and Factor Supplies, 1963-1991," NBER Working Papers 6981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6981
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    Cited by:

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    2. Jurgen Meckl & Benjamin Weigert, 2003. "Globalization, technical change and the skill premium: magnification effects from human - capital investments," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 319-336.
    3. Robbins, Donald J., 2003. "The impact of trade liberalization upon inequality in developing countries : a review of theory and evidence," ILO Working Papers 993650553402676, International Labour Organization.
    4. Chen, Liming & Felipe, Jesus & Kam, Andrew J.Y. & Mehta, Aashish, 2018. "Is Employment Globalizing?," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 556, Asian Development Bank.
    5. Edwards, T. Huw & Lücke, Matthias, 2021. "Decomposing the growth of the high-skilled wage premium in an advanced economy open to trade," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 766-784.
    6. Chen, Liming & Felipe, Jesus & Kam, Andrew J.Y. & Mehta, Aashish, 2021. "Is employment globalizing?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 74-92.
    7. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dawood Mamoon, 2006. "Which Institutions Are More Relevant Than Others in Inequality Mitigation?," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 45(4), pages 893-912.
    9. Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2014. "A Survey Of Trade And Wage Inequality: Anomalies, Resolutions And New Trends," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 169-193, February.
    10. Manoj Atolia & Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2008. "Variety Trade and Skill Premium in a Calibrated General Equilibrium Model: The Case of Mexico," Working Papers wp2008_11_03, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    11. Blum, Bernardo S., 2008. "Trade, technology, and the rise of the service sector: The effects on US wage inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 441-458, March.
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    13. Atolia, Manoj & Kurokawa, Yoshinori, 2016. "The impact of trade margins on the skill premium: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 895-915.
    14. Max Albert & Jürgen Meckl, 2003. "Involuntary Unemployment and the Existence of GDP Functions," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 79-88, February.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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