Discussion paper

DP8410 Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle

Over the past two decades, technological progress in the United States has been biased towards skilled labor. What does this imply for business cycles? We construct a quarterly skill premium from the CPS and use it to identify skill-biased technology shocks in a VAR with long-run restrictions. Hours fall in response to skill-biased technology shocks, indicating that at least part of the technology-induced fall in total hours is due to a compositional shift in labor demand. Skill-biased technology shocks have no effect on the relative price of investment, suggesting that capital and skill are not complementary in aggregate production.


van Rens, T and A Balleer (2011), ‘DP8410 Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8410. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp8410