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Comparative Advantage, Relative Wages, and the Accumulation of Human Capital

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  • Coen N. Teulings

    (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

I apply Ricardo’s principle of comparative advantage to a theory of factor substitutability in a model with a continuum of worker and job types. Highly skilled workers have a comparative advantage in complex jobs. The model satisfies the distance‐dependent elasticity of substitution (DIDES) characteristic: substitutability between types declines with their skill distance. I analyze changes in relative wages due to human capital accumulation. The concept of a complexity dispersion parameter or compression elasticity is introduced. Empirical studies suggest its value to be equal to two: a 1 percent increase in the stock of human capital reduces the Mincerian return by 2 percent. See the publication in Journal of Political Economy , 2005, 113(2), 425-461.

Suggested Citation

  • Coen N. Teulings, 2002. "Comparative Advantage, Relative Wages, and the Accumulation of Human Capital," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-081/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 08 Apr 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20020081
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Teulings, Coen N, 1995. "The Wage Distribution in a Model of the Assignment of Skills to Jobs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 280-315, April.
    3. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dominik Sachs & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2020. "Nonlinear Tax Incidence and Optimal Taxation in General Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(2), pages 469-493, March.
    2. Pieter A. Gautier & Coen N. Teulings, 2006. "How Large are Search Frictions?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1193-1225, December.
    3. Bastian Schulz, 2015. "Wage Rigidity and Labor Market Dynamics with Sorting," ifo Working Paper Series 199, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Pieter A. Gautier & Coen N. Teulings, 2015. "Sorting And The Output Loss Due To Search Frictions," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(6), pages 1136-1166, December.
    5. Bruno Crépon & Muriel Dejemeppe & Marc Gurgand, 2005. "Counseling the unemployed: does it lower unemployment duration and recurrence?," Working Papers halshs-00590769, HAL.
    6. Gautier, P.A. & Teulings, C.N., 2009. "Search and the city," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 251-265, May.
    7. Lee, Eunhee & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2018. "Global value chains and inequality with endogenous labor supply," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 223-241.
    8. Andrew Shephard & Modibo Sidibe, 2019. "Schooling Investment, Mismatch,and Wage Inequality," PIER Working Paper Archive 19-013, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    9. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "Understanding the Technology of Computer Technology Diffusion: Explaining Computer Adoption Patterns and Implications for the Wage Structure," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 17(3-4), pages 37-70, September.
    10. Coen Teulings & Thijs van Rens, 2008. "Education, Growth, and Income Inequality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 89-104, February.
    11. Pieter A. Gautier & Coen N. Teulings, 2015. "Sorting And The Output Loss Due To Search Frictions," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(6), pages 1136-1166, December.
    12. Juan A. Correa & Francisco Parro, 2020. "On the heterogeneous short‐term effects of minimum wages on labor demand," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 16(2), pages 184-195, June.
    13. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2015. "Beyond Ricardo: Assignment Models in International Trade," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 31-62, August.
    14. Jan Eeckhout & Roberto Pinheiro, 2014. "Diverse Organizations And The Competition For Talent," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55(3), pages 625-664, August.
    15. BURZYNSKI Michal & GOLA Pawel, 2019. "Mexican Migration to the United States: Selection, Assignment, and Welfare," LISER Working Paper Series 2019-10, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
    16. Jaume, David, 2021. "The labor market effects of an educational expansion," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
    17. Bas Straathof, 2006. "Schooling inequality and the rise of research," CPB Discussion Paper 74.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    18. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "Understanding the Technology of Computer Technology Diffusion: Explaining Computer Adoption Patterns and Implications for the Wage Structure," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 17(3-4), pages 37-70, September.
    19. Kehrig, Matthias, 2018. "Comment on “Computerizing industries and routinizing jobs: Explaining trends in aggregate productivity” by Sangmin Aum, Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee and Yongseok Shin," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 22-28.
    20. Gregory Kurtzon, 2013. "Occupational Choice and the E¤ects of Skill Supply on Relative Wages," Working Papers 460, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    assignment; wage distribution; human capital.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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