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HANDBOOK OF LABOR ECONOMICS, VOL 4B by David Card, Orley Ashenfelter

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Chapter 12

Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings*

Daron Acemoglu, * MIT, NBER and CIFAR

David Autor, ** MIT, NBER and IZA

Abstract

A central organizing framework of the voluminous recent literature studying changes in the returns to skills and the evolution of earnings inequality is what we refer to as the canonical model, which elegantly and powerfully operationalizes the supply and demand for skills by assuming two distinct skill groups that perform two different and imperfectly substitutable tasks or produce two imperfectly substitutable goods. Technology is assumed to take a factor-augmenting form, which, by complementing either high or low skill workers, can generate skill biased demand shifts. In this paper, ...

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