Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: A macroeconomic analysis

Per Krusell, Lee E. Ohanian, José Víctor Ríos-Rull, Giovanni L. Violante

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The supply and price of skilled labor relative to unskilled labor have changed dramatically over the postwar period. The relative quantity of skilled labor has increased substantially, and the skill premium, which is the wage of skilled labor relative to that of unskilled labor, has grown significantly since 1980. Many studies have found that accounting for the increase in the skill premium on the basis of observable variables is difficult and have concluded implicitly that latent skill-biased technological change must be the main factor responsible. This paper examines that view systematically. We develop a framework that provides a simple, explicit economic mechanism for understanding skill-biased technological change in terms of observable variables, and we use the framework to evaluate the fraction of variation in the skill premium that can be accounted for by changes in observed factor quantities. We find that with capital-skill complementarity, changes in observed inputs alone can account for most of the variations in the skill premium over the last 30 years.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1029-1053
    Number of pages25
    JournalEconometrica
    Volume68
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 2000

    Fingerprint

    Complementarity
    Macroeconomics
    macroeconomics
    premium
    labor
    technological change
    Technological Change
    Biased
    post-war period
    wage
    Wages
    Skills
    Skill premium
    Capital-skill complementarity
    supply
    Skilled labor
    Economics
    economics
    Evaluate
    Factors

    Keywords

    • Capital-skill complementarity
    • Technological change
    • Wage inequality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
    • Statistics and Probability
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Krusell, P., Ohanian, L. E., Ríos-Rull, J. V., & Violante, G. L. (2000). Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: A macroeconomic analysis. Econometrica, 68(5), 1029-1053.

    Capital-skill complementarity and inequality : A macroeconomic analysis. / Krusell, Per; Ohanian, Lee E.; Ríos-Rull, José Víctor; Violante, Giovanni L.

    In: Econometrica, Vol. 68, No. 5, 2000, p. 1029-1053.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Krusell, P, Ohanian, LE, Ríos-Rull, JV & Violante, GL 2000, 'Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: A macroeconomic analysis', Econometrica, vol. 68, no. 5, pp. 1029-1053.
    Krusell P, Ohanian LE, Ríos-Rull JV, Violante GL. Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: A macroeconomic analysis. Econometrica. 2000;68(5):1029-1053.
    Krusell, Per ; Ohanian, Lee E. ; Ríos-Rull, José Víctor ; Violante, Giovanni L. / Capital-skill complementarity and inequality : A macroeconomic analysis. In: Econometrica. 2000 ; Vol. 68, No. 5. pp. 1029-1053.
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