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Capital Intensity, Neutral Technological Change, and Earnings Inequality

  • Michael Sattinger

The paper furthers the neoclassical theory of earnings inequality. The inequality multiplier is derived as the amount by which inequality in skills must be multiplied to yield earnings inequality. Neutral technological change and the real interest rate affect inequality by changing capital per worker. The effect of capital per worker on the inequality multiplier is related to skill differentials and capital-skill complementarity. The results explain increasing inequality from the mid 1970's into the 1990's.

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File URL: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/2003/CapitalIntensity.pdf
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Paper provided by University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 03-05.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:03-05
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
Phone: (518) 442-4735
Fax: (518) 442-4736

Order Information: Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
Web: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/index.shtml Email:


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  1. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Sato, Ryuzo, 1977. "Homothetic and Non-Homothetic CES Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 559-69, September.
  3. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, 07.
  4. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 78, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  5. Wood Júnior, Thomaz, 1995. "Workers," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 35(2), January.
  6. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557.
  7. Alan Krueger, 1999. "Measuring Labor's Share," NBER Working Papers 7006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  9. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alan B. Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," NBER Working Papers 7591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harcourt, G C, 1969. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 369-405, June.
  12. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  13. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  14. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  15. Adrian Wood, 1995. "How Trade Hurt Unskilled Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 57-80, Summer.
  16. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-68, November.
  17. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Can the Mortensen-Pissarides Model with Productivity Changes Explain U.S. Wage Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 70-105, January.
  18. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
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