Wage Inequality and Lobbying: a directed technical change approach
We devise a generalized Directed Technical Change growth model in which firms spend resources in lobbying activity. As expected, the presence of lobbying distorts the skill premium and economic growth. Lobbying also contributes to a lower technological-knowledge bias toward the skill-sector and constitutes a possible explanation for the diverging empirical evidence on the relationship between the skill premium and the relative supply of skills. An increase in the relative lobbying power of the skilled intensive intermediate goods firms can lead to an increase or decrease in the skill premium, depending on the elasticity of substitution between the skilled and unskilled sectors. Lobbying also introduces possibility of a dual economy, with two different steady states, one characterized by low growth and another by high growth, depending on a threshold level of the lobbying power and on the elasticity of substitution. Quantitative exercises show that lobbying can indeed be quite important in distorting the skill premium and the economic growth.