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Factor-Eliminating Technical Change

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  • Pietro F. Peretto
  • John J. Seater

Abstract

Endogenous growth requires that non-reproducible factors of production be either augmented or eliminated. Attention heretofore has focused almost exclusively on augmentation. In contrast, we study factor elimination. Maximizing agents decide when to reduce the importance of non-reproducible factors. We use a Cobb-Douglas production function with two factors of production, one reproducible ("capital") and one not ("labor"). There is no augmenting progress of any kind, thus excluding the standard engine of growth. What is new is the possibility of changing factor intensities endogenously by spending resources on R&D. The economy starts with no capital and no knowledge of how to use it. By conducting R&D, the economy learns new technologies that use capital, which then is built. There are two possible ultimate outcomes: the economy may achieve perpetual growth, or it may stagnate with no growth. The first outcome is an asymptotic version of the AK model of endogenous growth, and the second outcome is the standard Solow model in the absence of any exogenous sources of growth. Which outcome is achieved depends on parameter values of saving and production, and there always is a feasible saving rate that will give the perpetual growth outcome. The model thus provides a theory of the endogenous emergence of a production technology with constant returns to the reproducible factors, that is, one that is capable of supporting perpetual economic growth. The model also allows derivation of the full transition dynamics, which have interesting properties. One especially notable feature is that the origin is not a steady state. An economy that starts with pure labor production becomes industrialized through its own efforts. The theory thus offers a purely endogenous explanation for the transition from a primitive to a developed economy, in contrast to several well-known theories. Several aspects of the transition paths accord with the evidence, suggesting that the theory is reasonable. In contrast to almost all the existing endogenous growth literature, neither monopoly power nor an externality is a necessary condition for endogenous growth. It is sufficient that firms be able to appropriate the results of their research and development efforts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10-21.

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Length: 38
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:10-21

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Postal: Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097
Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Endogenous growth; technical change; factor intensity choice;

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References

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  1. Olivier Blanchard, 1998. "Revisiting European Unemployment: Unemployment, Capital Accumulation, and Factor Prices," NBER Working Papers 6566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  3. Caselli, Francesco & Feyrer, James, 2005. "The Marginal Product of Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 5203, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Sergio T. Rebelo, 1992. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 3325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sturgill, Brad, 2012. "The relationship between factor shares and economic development," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 1044-1062.
  6. Joseph Zeira, 1998. "Workers, Machines, And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1091-1117, November.
  7. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
  8. Zeira, Joseph, 2005. "Machines as Engines of Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5429, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Peretto, Pietro F., 1999. "Cost reduction, entry, and the interdependence of market structure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 173-195, February.
  11. Hernando Zuleta, 2008. "An empirical note on factor shares," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 379-390.
  12. Alan Krueger, 1999. "Measuring Labor's Share," Working Papers 792, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Hernando Zuleta, 2006. "Factor saving innovations and factor income shares," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 002706, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  14. Peretto, Pietro F, 1998. " Technological Change and Population Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 283-311, December.
  15. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
  16. John Bound & George Johnson, 1995. "What are the causes of rising wage inequality in the United States?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jan, pages 9-17.
  17. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Robert M. Solow, 1994. "Perspectives on Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 45-54, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Madsen, Jakob & Ang, James & Banerjee, Rajabrata, 2010. "Four Centuries of British Economic Growth: The Roles of Technology and Population," MPRA Paper 23510, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Brad Sturgill, 2010. "Cross-country Variation in Factor Shares and its Implications for Development Accounting," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_014, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  3. Alberto Dalmazzo & Antonio Accetturo & Guido de Blasio, 2011. "Skill-Biased Share-Altering Technical Change in Spatial General Equilibrium," ERSA conference papers ersa11p83, European Regional Science Association.
  4. Nazrullaeva, Eugenia, 2010. "Modeling the relationship between investment processes and costs structure applied to Russian economic activities in 2005-2009," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 19(3), pages 38-61.
  5. Laura Liliana Moreno Herrera & Jorge Eduardo Pérez Pérez, 2009. "Biased Technological Change, Impatience and Welfare," DEGIT Conference Papers c014_046, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  6. Julián David Parada, 2008. "Tasa de depreciación endógena y crecimiento económico," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 004594, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

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