Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences

Contents:

Author Info

  • Cummins, Jason G
  • Violante, Giovanni L

Abstract

By extrapolating Gordon’s (1990) measures of the quality-bias in the official price indexes, we construct quality-adjusted price indexes for 24 types of equipment and software (E&S) from 1947 to 2000 and use them to measure technical change at the aggregate and at the industry level. Technological improvement in E&S accounts for an important fraction of postwar GDP growth and plays a key role in the productivity resurgence of the 1990s. Driving this finding is 4% annual growth in the quality of E&S in the post war period and more than 6% annual growth in the 1990s. The acceleration in the 1990s occurred in every industry, consistent with the idea that information technology represents a general purpose technology. Furthermore, we measure for the aggregate economy and different sectors the ‘technological gap’: how much more productive new machines are compared to the average machine. We show that the technological gap explains the dynamics of investment in new technologies and the returns to human capital, consistent with Nelson and Phelps’ (1966) conjecture. Since the technological gap continues to increase – it more than doubled in the past 20 years – our evidence supports the view that at least some of the recent increase in productivity growth is sustainable.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.cepr.org/pubs/dps/DP3584.asp
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3584.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3584

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

Order Information:
Email:

Related research

Keywords: growth accounting; quality-adjusted prices; skill premium;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2001. "Information technology and the U.S. productivity revival: what do the industry data say?," Staff Reports 115, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Hulten, Charles R, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change Is Embodied in Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 964-80, September.
  3. Stephen D. Oliner, 1990. "Constant-quality price change, depreciation, and retirement of mainframe computers," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 110, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
  5. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
  6. Ravn, Morten O. & Uhlig, Harald, 2001. "On Adjusting the HP-Filter for the Frequency of Observations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ian Domowitz & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1986. "Business Cycles and the Relationship Between Concentration and Price-Cost Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
  8. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Erik Brynjolfsson & Chris F. Kemerer, 1993. "Network Externalities in Microcomputer Software: An Econometric Analysis of the Spreadsheet Market," Working Paper Series 158, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
  10. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  11. Hercowitz, Zvi, 1998. "The 'embodiment' controversy: A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 217-224, February.
  12. Michael Gort & Jeremy Greenwood & Peter Rupert, 1999. "How much of economic growth is fueled by investment-specific technological progress?," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Mar.
  13. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1996. "Mismeasurement in the Consumer Price Index: An Evaluation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 93-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Neil Gandal, 1994. "Hedonic Price Indexes for Spreadsheets and an Empirical Test for Network Externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 160-170, Spring.
  15. Karl Whelan, 2000. "A guide to the use of chain aggregated NIPA data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
  17. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1999. "The Returns to Skill in the United States across the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, October.
  19. Jeremy Greenwood & Boyan Jovanovic, 1999. "The IT Revolution and the Stock Market," NBER Working Papers 6931, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Charles R. Hulten, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change is Embodied in Capital," NBER Working Papers 3971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Karl Whelan, 2000. "Computers, obsolescence, and productivity," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  22. Daniel J. Wilson, 2002. "Is Embodied Technology the Result of Upstream R&D? Industry-Level Evidence," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 285-317, April.
  23. David E. Lebow & Jeremy B. Rudd, 2001. "Measurement error in the consumer price index: where do we stand?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 1994. "Computers and Output Growth Revisited: How Big Is the Puzzle?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 273-334.
  25. Matthew Mitchell, 2002. "Technological Change and the Scale of Production," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 477-488, April.
  26. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
  27. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 1996. "Can Technology Improvements Cause Productivity Slowdowns?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 209-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Kevin J. Stiroh & Dale W. Jorgenson, 2000. "U.S. Economic Growth at the Industry Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 161-167, May.
  29. Bart Hobijn, 2001. "Is equipment price deflation a statistical artifact?," Staff Reports 139, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  30. G. Christian Ehemann & Brent R. Moulton, 2001. "Balancing the GDP Account," BEA Papers 0014, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  31. Gort, Michael & Wall, Richard A., 1998. "Obsolescence, input augmentation, and growth accounting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1653-1665, November.
  32. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557.
  33. Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3584. See general 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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.