37 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2008 Last revised: 26 Jul 2014
Date Written: January 26, 2009
This paper presents a model of development in which skilled labor is an input in technology adoption. The model combines Nelson and Phelps (1966) type technology dynamics with a growth model in which intermediate goods are used to produce a final good. The intermediate good producers hire skilled labor to increase their productivity by adopting techniques from an exogenously evolving stock of world knowledge. I solve for the stationary equilibrium and derive analytic expressions for steady state income level and wage premium. In a quantitative exercise, I calibrate the model and compare its predictions with data. The model successfully accounts for cross-country income differences and within-country wage premia on skilled labor. These results strengthen the idea that different types of human capital perform separate tasks and should not be aggregated into a single stock of human capital in development accounting exercises. The availability of skilled labor is potentially much more important for development than such aggregative exercises have so far suggested.
Keywords: Total Factor Productivity, Human Capital and Development
JEL Classification: O33, O41
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