The world technology frontier

Published

Journal Article

We study cross-country differences in the aggregate production function when skilled and unskilled labor are imperfect substitutes. We find that there is a skill bias in cross-country technology differences. Higher-income countries use skilled labor more efficiently than lower-income countries, while they use unskilled labor relatively and, possibly, absolutely less efficiently. We also propose a simple explanation for our findings: rich countries, which are skilled-labor abundant, choose technologies that are best suited to skilled workers; poor countries, which are unskilled-labor abundant, choose technologies more appropriate to unskilled workers. We discuss alternative explanations, such as capital-skill complementarity and differences in schooling quality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Caselli, F; Coleman, WJ

Published Date

  • August 29, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 96 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 499 - 522

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-8282

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1257/aer.96.3.499

Citation Source

  • Scopus