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The technological determinants of long‐run inequality

Journal of Public Economic Theory

Published online on


I explore the effect of skill‐biased technological change and unbiased technological progress on long‐run inequality using a theoretical model in which the supply of skilled and unskilled workers is endogenous. The main assumption of the model is that young agents can finance their education and become skilled workers by borrowing against their future income on an imperfect credit market. I show that whenever the rate of unbiased technological progress is sufficiently high there is no steady‐state inequality, independent of the degree of skill bias. If instead the rate of unbiased technological progress is low, then the long‐run skill premium increases with the technological skill bias. Therefore, similarly to the short run, in the long run higher technological skill bias may cause higher inequality. However, contrary to the short run, in the long run unbiased technological progress is more important than technological skill bias in determining inequality. I also discuss how the efficiency of the educational technology and the degree of financial development affect long‐run inequality.