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Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology

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  • Basu, Susanto
  • Fernald, John G.

Abstract

Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology are meaningful but distinct concepts. We show that a slightly-modified Solow productivity residual measures changes in economic welfare, even when productivity and technology differ because of distortions such as imperfect competition. We then present a general accounting framework that identifies several new non-technological gaps between productivity and technology, gaps reflecting imperfections and frictions in output and factor markets. Empirically, we find that these gaps are important, even though we abstract from variations in factor utilization and estimate only small average sectoral markups. Compared with productivity growth, our measured technology shocks are significantly less correlated with output, and are essentially uncorrelated with inputs. Our results imply that calibrating dynamic general equilibrium models as if Solow residuals were technology shocks confuses impulses and propagation mechanisms.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 46 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 963-991

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:46:y:2002:i:6:p:963-991

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  1. Basu, Susanto, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-51, August.
  2. Susanto Basu, 1994. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 4817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
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  25. Bai, Chong-en & Li, David D. & Wang, Yijiang, 1997. "Enterprise Productivity and Efficiency: When Is Up Really Down?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 265-280, June.
  26. Horvath, Michael, 2000. "Sectoral shocks and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 69-106, February.
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