The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology: Some Empirical Evidence

33 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2004 Last revised: 13 Sep 2010

See all articles by Ann P. Bartel

Ann P. Bartel

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Frank R. Lichtenberg

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Date Written: October 1985

Abstract

In this paper we estimate variants of a labor demand equation derived from a (restricted variable) cost function in which "experience"on a technology (proxied by the mean age of the capital stock) enters "non-neutrally." Our specification of the underlying cost function isbased on the hypothesis that highly educated workers have a comparative advantage with respect to the adjustment to and implementation of new technologies. Our empirical results are consistent with the implication of this hypothesis, that the relative demand for educated workers declines as the capital stock (and presumably the technology embodied therein) ages. According to our estimates, the education-distribution of employment depends more strongly on the age of equipment than on the age of plant, and the effect of changes in equipment age on labor demand is magnified in R&D-intensive industries.

Suggested Citation

Bartel, Ann P. and Lichtenberg, Frank R., The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology: Some Empirical Evidence (October 1985). NBER Working Paper No. w1718, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=338789

Ann P. Bartel (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

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Frank R. Lichtenberg

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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