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Author:Lewis, Ethan 

Working Paper
Local, open economies within the U.S.: how do industries respond to immigration?

A series of studies has found that relative wages and employment rates in different local labor markets of the US are surprisingly unaffected by local factor supplies. This paper evaluates two explanations for this puzzling empirical fact: (1) Interregional trade mitigates the local impact of supply shocks. (2) Production technology rapidly adapts to the local mix of workers. The author tests these alternative explanations by estimating the effect of increases in relative supplies of particular skill groups on the relative growth rates of different industries and on the relative utilization ...
Working Papers , Paper 04-1

Working Paper
Labor supply and personal computer adoption.

The positive correlations found between computer use and human capital are often interpreted as evidence that the adoption of computers have raised the relative demand for skilled labor, the widely touted skill-biased technological change hypothesis. However, several models argue the skill- intensity of technology is endogenously determined by the relative supply of skilled labor. The authors use instruments for the supply of human capital coupled with a rich dataset on computer usage by businesses to show that the supply of human capital is an important determinant of the adoption of ...
Working Papers , Paper 06-10

Working Paper
Schooling and the AFQT: evidence from school entry laws

Is the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) a measure of achievement or ability? The answer to this question is critical for drawing inferences from studies in which it is employed. In this paper, we test for a relationship between schooling and AFQT performance in the NLSY 79 by comparing test-takers with birthdays near state cutoff dates for school entry. We instrument for schooling at the test date with academic cohort?the year in which an individual should have entered first grade?in a model that allows age at the test date to have a direct effect on AFQT performance. This identification ...
Working Papers , Paper 05-1

Working Paper
How did the Miami labor market absorb the Mariel immigrants?

Card's (1990) well-known analysis of the Mariel boatlift concluded that this mass influx of mostly less-skilled Cubans to Miami had little impact on the labor market outcomes of the city's less-skilled workers. This paper evaluates two explanations for this. First, consistent with an open-economy framework, this paper asks whether after the boatlift, Miami increased its production of unskilled-intensive manufactured goods, allowing it to "export" the impact of the boatlift. Second, this paper asks whether Miami adapted to the boatlift by implementing new skill-complementary technologies ...
Working Papers , Paper 04-3

Journal Article
How do local labor markets in the U.S. adjust to immigration?

In recent years, more than 1 million people a year have immigrated to the U.S., a level not seen since before the Great Depression. This boom is most apparent in the urban areas where immigrants tend to cluster. Given their numbers, these newly arrived residents must have some effect on local labor markets. Yet economists have been puzzled by the evidence that immigration has little impact on the wages and employment of native-born workers. So how great is immigration's impact on local labor markets? Is it limited to markets where immigrants settle, or is it spread across the country? In ...
Business Review , Issue Q1 , Pages 16-25

Working Paper
Labor supply and personal computer adoption

The positive correlations found between computer use and human capital are often interpreted as evidence that the adoption of computers have raised the relative demand for skilled labor, the widely touted skill-biased technological change hypothesis. However, several models argue the skill-intensity of technology is endogenously determined by the relative supply of skilled labor. We use instruments for the supply of human capital coupled with a rich dataset on computer usage by businesses to show that the supply of human capital is an important determinant of the adoption of personal ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-18

Working Paper
Endogenous skill bias in technology adoption: city-level evidence from the IT revolution

This paper focuses on the bi-directional interaction between technology adoption and labor market conditions. We examine cross-city differences in PC adoption, relative wages, and changes in relative wages over the period 1980-2000 to evaluate whether the patterns conform to the predictions of a neoclassical model of endogenous technology adoption. Our approach melds the literature on the effect of the relative supply of skilled labor on technology adoption to the often distinct literature on how technological change influences the relative demand for skilled labor. Our results support the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-24

Journal Article
Is technology raising demand for skills, or are skills raising demand for technology?

In ?Is Technology Raising Demand for Skills, or Are Skills Raising Demand for Technology?? Ethan Lewis describes a common view that recent technological advances, such as the introduction of computers, have rendered obsolete some occupations that require less skill and have increased businesses? desire to hire skilled workers. But what if the rising skills of U.S. workers are inducing businesses to adopt?and maybe even develop ? new technologies that require workers who are more skilled? Lewis assesses this alternative view by examining the evidence that increasing skills are driving ...
Business Review , Issue Q2 , Pages 17-25

Working Paper
Immigration, skill mix, and the choice of technique

Using detailed plant-level data from the 1988 and 1993 Surveys of Manufacturing Technology, this paper examines the impact of skill mix in U.S. local labor markets on the use and adoption of automation technologies in manufacturing. The level of automation differs widely across U.S. metropolitan areas. In both 1988 and 1993, in markets with a higher relative availability of less skilled labor, comparable plants ? even plants in the same narrow (4-digit SIC) industries ? used systematically less automation. Moreover, between 1988 and 1993 plants in areas experiencing faster less-skilled ...
Working Papers , Paper 05-8

Journal Article
The narrowing of the male-female wage gap

According to several measures, the difference in wages between men and women, the so-called "male-female wage gap" (MFWG), has shrunk substantially--by about half--over the past several decades. This phenomenon has been the subject of much research, speculation, and contention. For example, some seek to explain why the gap narrowed so dramatically in the 1980s only to narrow much more slowly in subsequent years. Others have considered the role of new technology, which may have helped level the playing field between the sexes; this view recalls the rise of office work at the turn of the ...
FRBSF Economic Letter

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