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Technical Change and the Demand for Skills by U.S. Industries

David Howell () and Edward Wolff ()

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 1992, vol. 16, issue 2, 127-46

Abstract: Previous studies have explained the demand for skills, usually measured by schooling attainment, by either factor price substitution, capital-skill complementarity, or technology-skill complementarity. The authors explore this demand with direct job-based measures of cognitive (CS), interactive (IS), and motor (MS) skills in a single model that includes all three sets of possible determinants. The results raise doubts about the adequacy of schooling as a measure of skill and TFP growth as an index of technical change. The authors find little support for capital-skill complementarity; capital-intensity and its growth are significantly inversely related to CS and MS levels and growth. Technical change is unambiguously linked to increasing CS, rising professional/technical shares, and declining operative/laborer shares. The effects on MS and IS are mixed, but young capital increases craft shares, and computer-intensity decreases supervisory and clerical/service shares. Copyright 1992 by Oxford University Press.

Date: 1992
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Working Paper: TECHNICAL CHANGE AND THE DEMAND FOR SKILLS BY U.S. INDUSTRIES (1990)
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