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Labor Market Effects of Technology Shocks Biased toward the Traded Sector

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

Motivated by recent evidence pointing at an increasing contribution of asymmetric shocks across sectors to economic fluctuations, we explore the sectoral composition effects of technology shocks biased toward the traded sector. Using a panel of seventeen OECD countries over the period 1970-2013, our VAR evidence reveals that a permanent increase in traded relative to non-traded TFP lowers the traded hours worked share by shifting labor toward the non-traded sector, and has an expansionary effect on the labor income share in both sectors. Our quantitative analysis shows that the open economy version of the neoclassical model can reproduce the reallocation and redistributive effects we document empirically once we allow for technological change biased toward labor together with additional specific elements. Calibrating the model to country-specific data, the model can account for the cross-country dispersion in the reallocation and redistributive effects we document empirically once we let factor-biased technological change vary across sectors and between countries. Finally, we document evidence which supports our hypothesis of factor-biased technological change as we find empirically that countries where capital-intensive industries contribute more to the increase in traded TFP are those where capital relative to labor efficiency increases.