Microeconomic Essays on Technology, Labor Markets and Firm Strategy
AdvisorOaxaca, Ronald L
Committee ChairOaxaca, Ronald L
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation consists of three essays in applied microeconomics. These essays investigate different aspects of the impact of technology on labor market outcomes and firm strategy. The first essay, co-authored with Ronald L. Oaxaca, is in the area of labor economics and it investigates the relation between non-neutral technological change and the gender gap in wages. This essay is the first to address the issue of the recent narrowing of the gender wage gap in the context of technological change by using a novel approach to separately estimate the effects of technological change and discrimination on the gender wage gap. Using a constant elasticity of substitution production function and Current Population Survey data on employment and wages by industry and occupation, the results show that changes in non-neutral technological change explain between 5% and 9% of the narrowing of the wage gap between 1979 and 2001. The latter two essays span topics across applied industrial organization, firm strategy and labor economics. The second component of my dissertation investigates the relation between technological knowledge diffusion through the labor mobility of scientists and the organization of R&D activities by innovative firms. Using a labor mobility measure from the Current Population Survey March Supplements as a measure for inter-firm technology spillovers and a panel of R&D alliance data for 18 U.S. industries between 1989 and 1999, a Poisson estimation shows that firms facing a 10% increase in the labor mobility of scientists have a 5% increase in the annual number of R&D collaborations. The third essay is an empirical analysis of the impact of knowledge dissemination generated by the labor mobility of scientists and engineers on a measure of the pace of innovation. Using an unbalanced panel of firms containing patent data matched with firm data across eight innovative industries, from 1989 to 1998, along with a measure of the labor mobility of scientists and engineers, this essay provides evidence that firms in industries exposed to levels of labor mobility of scientists and engineers that differ by 1%, have an expected time lag between sequential generations of technologies that differs by 0.56 years.