Micro Data and the Macro Elasticity of Substitution
AbstractWe estimate the aggregate elasticity of substitution between capital and labor in the US manufacturing sector. We show that the aggregate elasticity of substitution can be expressed as a simple function of plant level structural parameters and sufficient statistics of the distribution of plant input cost shares. We then use plant level data from the Census of Manufactures to construct a local elasticity of substitution at various levels of aggregation. Our approach does not assume the existence of a stable aggregate production function, as we build up our estimate from the cross section of plants at a point in time. Accounting for substitution within and across plants, we find that the aggregate elasticity is substantially below unity at approximately 0.7. Lastly we assess the sources of the bias of aggregate technical change from 1987 to 1997. We find that the labor augmenting character of aggregate technical change is due almost exclusively to labor augmenting productivity growth at the plant level rather than relative growth in capital intensive plants.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 12-05.
Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
elasticity of substitution; aggregation; bias of technical change;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-28 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- León-Ledesma, Miguel A. & McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2009.
"Identifying the elasticity of substitution with biased technical change,"
Working Paper Series
1001, European Central Bank.
- Miguel A. Le�n-Ledesma & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2010. "Identifying the Elasticity of Substitution with Biased Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1330-57, September.
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