A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap: Growth Based on General Purpose Technologies
AbstractWe develop a model of growth driven by successive improvements in `General Purpose Technologies' (GPTs), such as the steam engine, electricity, or micro-electronics. Each new generation of GPTs prompts investments in complementary inputs and impacts the economy after enough such compatible inputs become available. The long-run dynamics take the form of recurrent cycles: during the first phase of each cycle output and productivity grow slowly or even decline, and it is only in the second phase that growth starts in earnest. The historical record of productivity growth associated with electrification, and perhaps also of computerization lately, may offer supportive evidence for this pattern. In lieu of analytical comparative dynamics, we conduct simulations of the model over a wide range of parameters, and analyse the results statistically. We extend the model to allow for skilled and unskilled labour, and explore the implications for the behaviour over time of their relative wages. We also explore diffusion in the context of a multi-sector economy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1080.
Date of creation: Dec 1994
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Other versions of this item:
- Elhanan Helpman & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1994. "A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap: Growth Based on General Purpose Technologies," NBER Working Papers 4854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
- O4 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
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.:
- Shapiro,Helen, 1994. "Engines of Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521416405, December.
- Trajtenberg, M. & Bresnahan, T.F., 1992.
"General Purpose Technologies: "Engines of Growth","
16-92, Tel Aviv.
- David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.