NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Factor-Biased Technological Change Stifle International Covergence? Evidence from Manufacturing

Eli Berman

NBER Working Paper No. 7964
Issued in October 2000
NBER Program(s):   LS   PR

Factor-biased technological change implies divergent productivity growth across countries with different amounts of skill and capital per worker. I estimate the extent of factor bias within industries and countries using a 19-country panel of manufacturing data covering the 1980s. Estimates using both production functions and total factor productivity functions show that technological change is strongly biased against less-skilled workers and toward both skilled workers and capital. An industry or country with twice the capital and skill per less-skilled worker enjoys 1.4%-1.8% faster total factor productivity growth annually due to the effects of factor-bias. These results are consistent with the empirical literature on skill-biased technological change. They may well explain why conditional convergence' of per capita income across countries is so slow.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7964

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