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Regional Skill Structure and the Diffusion of Technology

J. Mullen, Stephen Nord and Martin Williams

Atlantic Economic Journal, 2005, vol. 33, issue 1, 115-131

Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between the skill structure of states’ manufacturing sectors and technological change. Various measures of technological change are utilized including private and public R&D stocks, high-tech capital, recent capital, and the spatial spillover effects attributed to R&D stocks. We analyze the impact of changes in technology on spatial wage-bill shares, utilizing panel data for the 48 contiguous states over three sequential five-year periods. Overall, the results show a positive connection between skill upgrading and technological change. In other words, we find that states that adopt new technologies have more skilled workforces. Of particular interest, we find that publicly funded R&D stocks from neighboring states play a significant role in skill upgrading. The general implication of this finding is that geographic proximity is key to diffusing government-funded technology that enhances state economic performance. Our results strengthen the case for regional cooperation among states in developing policies to attract both private and public R&D capital. Copyright IAES 2005

Keywords: 033; J39; L69; R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:33:y:2005:i:1:p:115-131