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Education Briefing: The role of capital-labour substitution in economic growth

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Author Info

  • Debdulal Mallick

Abstract

Purpose – Although the importance of the elasticity of substitution between capital and labour (s) has been recognized in many areas in economics, this parameter has not received enough attention in economic growth. The purpose of this paper is to review the recent development in the importance of s in economic growth. Design/methodology/approach – This paper specifically reviews the possibility of perpetual growth and slowdown, and the asymptotic behaviour of the balanced growth path for different values of s. It also reviews the determinants of the aggregate s. Findings – Based on the empirical evidence that the value of s significantly departs from the Cobb-Douglas value of unity, the paper recommends employing the constant elasticity of substitution (CES) production function in both theoretical and empirical growth research. Originality/value – This paper offers a new perspective on the elasticity of substitution between capital and labour due to its evaluation of various factors, methods and approaches.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Indian Growth and Development Review.

Volume (Year): 5 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 89-101

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Handle: RePEc:eme:igdrpp:v:5:y:2012:i:1:p:89-101

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Related research

Keywords: Capital; CES production function; Economic growth; Elasticity of substitution; Labour;

References

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  1. Dennis R. Maki & Lindsay N. Meredith, 1987. "A Note on Unionization and the Elasticity of Substitution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(4), pages 792-801, November.
  2. Solow, Robert M., 2005. "Reflections on Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 3-10 Elsevier.
  3. Theodore Palivos & Giannis Karagiannis, 2007. "The elasticity of substitution as an engine of growth," Discussion Paper Series 2007_03, Department of Economics, University of Macedonia, revised Dec 2007.
  4. Mallick, Debdulal, 2010. "Capital-labor substitution and balanced growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1131-1142, December.
  5. Irmen, Andreas, 2011. "Steady-state growth and the elasticity of substitution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1215-1228, August.
  6. Miyagiwa, Kaz & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2007. "Endogenous aggregate elasticity of substitution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 2899-2919, September.
  7. Blitzer, Charles R, 1970. "Elasticity of Substitution and the Retardation of Soviet Growth Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(1), pages 104-08, February.
  8. Xue, Jianpo & Yip, Chong K., 2012. "Factor Substitution And Economic Growth: A Unified Approach," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 625-656, September.
  9. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley & DEC, 1994. "The Soviet economic decline : historical and republican data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1284, The World Bank.
  10. Kaz Miyagiwa & Chris Papageorgiou, 2003. "Elasticity of substitution and growth: normalized CES in the Diamond model," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 155-165, 01.
  11. Chirinko, Robert S., 2008. "[sigma]: The long and short of it," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 671-686, June.
  12. Klump, Rainer & Preissler, Harald, 2000. " CES Production Functions and Economic Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 41-56, March.
  13. Saam, Marianne, 2008. "Openness to trade as a determinant of the macroeconomic elasticity of substitution," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 691-702, June.
  14. Robert S. Chirinko, 2008. "ó: The Long And Short Of It," CESifo Working Paper Series 2234, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Duffy, John & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2000. " A Cross-Country Empirical Investigation of the Aggregate Production Function Specification," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 87-120, March.
  16. Olivier de La Grandville & Rainer Klump, 2000. "Economic Growth and the Elasticity of Substitution: Two Theorems and Some Suggestions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 282-291, March.
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