Following are some interesting replies to my OP received on the above topic at Reddit in 2019
post from Heatherk79
I've actually come across skilled biased technological change when searching "SBTC" in the past. I had the same question as you; was it a "thing" in the 90s? I was able to find articles written in the mid 90s which either addressed skilled biased technological change, or referred to research done on the concept prior to 1996.
I thought it was interesting since it relates to technology (computers) and so did JR's business. Obviously, intruder theorists will have a different take on the way in which it might relate to JR's business/the ransom note.another post from Heatherk79
"This isn't really a theory I ever latched onto. It was just something I came across and wondered whether "skilled biased technological change" was a relatively new concept, or if it had been around at the time of the murder. I didn't actually bother to bookmark any of the articles I had found.
A quick search, however, led to this article which states:
The concept of SBTC, first developed by Griliches (1969) and Welch (1970), is based on the hypothesis of capital-skill complementarity, and suggests that employers’ increased demand for skilled workers is driven by new technologies that are penetrating into modernized industries, and which only workers with a higher level of skill can operate (Machin, 2003).
post from searchinGirl
The first to explore SBTC empirically were Berman, Bound and Griliches (1994) who provided evidence for the existence of strong correlations between within industry skill upgrading and increased investment in both computer technology and R&D in the U.S. manufacturing sector between 1979 and 1989."
Thanks for the link to this article. I'm not sure that when you sent it before I actually had the chance to read it. But it helped me put SBTC as it relates to this OP into perspective. Perhaps there is a connection to the general business culture in Boulder in 1996:
Reaching the billion-dollar mark has come relatively quickly for Access, which was formed in 1989 from the merger of three companies: CAD Distributors Inc. of Boulder; CAD Sources Inc. of Piscataway, N.J.; and Advanced Products Group of Roswell, Ga.
In 1990, Access posted $59 million in sales and had 120 employees. While revenues have grown about 1,600 percent, employment has grown about 358 percent, to 550 employees. About 380 employees are in Boulder, 100 in Europe, 20 in Mexico City, 12 in Canada and some at warehouses in California and Pennsylvania.
Access Graphics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp., gets about 60 percent of its revenues from selling hardware and software from Sun Microsystems Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.
Sun, known for its Unix workstations and Java software, is planning an office campus of more than 1 million square feet with more than 3,500 employees at Interlocken business park in Broomfield. Access is one of two distributors for Sun in the United States that is authorized to sell to resellers, which get customer support from Access in selling to end-users.
The paper on Skills Biased Technological Change appears to me to be a quantification and explanation for a predictive economic model of a cultural shift that occurs when highly skilled technical workers come into demand for emerging new technologies. And lower-skilled workers don't have the skill to compete.