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Author:Tantivong, Wuttipan 

Working Paper
The role of capital service-life in a model with heterogenous labor and vintage capital
We examine how the economy responds to both disembodied and embodied technology shocks in a model with vintage capital. We focus on what happens when there is a change in the number of vintages of capital that are in use at any one time and on what happens when there is a change in the persistence of the shocks hitting the economy. The data suggest that these kinds of changes took place in the U.S. economy in the 1990s, when the pace of embodied technical progress appears to have accelerated. We find that embodied technology shocks lead to greater variability (of output, investment and labor allocations) than disembodied shocks of the same size. On the other hand, a decrease in the number of vintages in use at any time (such as is likely to occur when the pace of technical progress accelerates) tends to reduce the volatility of output and also to differentiate the initial response of the economy to the two shocks.
AUTHORS: Trehan, Bharat; Marquis, Milton H.; Tantivong, Wuttipan
DATE: 2009

Working Paper
The wage premium puzzle and the quality of human capital
The wage premium for high-skilled workers in the United States, measured as the ratio of the 90th-to-10th percentiles from the wage distribution, increased by 20 percent from the 1970s to the late 1980s. A large literature has emerged to explain this phenomenon. A leading explanation is that skill-biased technological change (SBTC) increased the demand for skilled labor relative to unskilled labor. In a calibrated vintage capital model with heterogenous labor, this paper examines whether SBTC is likely to have been a major factor in driving up the wage premium. Our results suggest that the contribution of SBTC is very small, accounting for about 1/20th of the observed increase. By contrast, a gradual and very modest shift in the distribution of human capital across workers can easily account for the large observed increase in wage inequality.
AUTHORS: Trehan, Bharat; Marquis, Milton H.; Tantivong, Wuttipan
DATE: 2011

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