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American Economic Review: Vol. 89 No. 1 (March 1999)

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Technological Revolutions

Article Citation

Caselli, Francesco. 1999. "Technological Revolutions." American Economic Review, 89(1): 78-102.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.1.78

Abstract

In skill-biased (deskilling) technological revolutions, learning investments required by new machines are greater (smaller) than those required by preexisting machines. Skill-biased (deskilling) revolutions trigger reallocations of capital from slow- (fast-) to fast- (slow-) learning workers, thereby reducing the relative and absolute wages of the former. The model of skill-biased (deskilling) revolutions provides insight into developments since the mid-1970s (in the 1910s). The empirical work documents a large increase in the interindustry dispersion of capital-labor ratios since 1975. Changes in industry capital intensity are related to the skill composition of the labor force.

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Authors

Caselli, Francesco (U Chicago)

JEL Classifications

O33: Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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