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The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics

Editor-in-Chief: Cavalcanti, Tiago / Mertens, Karel

Ed. by Abraham, Arpad / Carceles-Poveda , Eva / Debortoli, Davide / Kambourov, Gueorgui / Lambertini, Luisa / Pavoni, Nicola / Ruhl, Kim / Nimark, Kristoffer / Wang, Pengfei

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1935-1690
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Human Capital, Technology Adoption and Development

A. Kerem Cosar
  • 1University of Chicago Booth School of Business,
Published Online: 2011-03-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-1690.1907

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: productivity; human capital; technology adoption


Published Online: 2011-03-02


Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics. Volume 11, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1690, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-1690.1907, March 2011

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