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The replacement problem in frictional economies : a near equivalence result

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  • Andreas Hornstein
  • Per Krusell
  • Giovanni L. Violante

Abstract

We examine how technological change affects wage inequality and unemployment in a calibrated model of matching frictions in the labor market. We distinguish between two polar cases studied in the literature: a "creative destruction" economy where new machines enter chiefly through new matches and an "upgrading" economy where machines in existing matches are replaced by new machines. Our main results are: (i) these two economies produce very similar quantitative outcomes, and (ii) the total amount of wage inequality generated by frictions is very small. We explain these findings in light of the fact that, in the model calibrated to the U.S. economy, both unemployment and vacancy durations are very short, i.e., the matching frictions are quantitatively minor. Hence, the equilibrium allocations of the model are remarkably close to those of a frictionless version of our economy where firms are indifferent between upgrading and creative destruction, and where every worker is paid the same market-clearing wage. These results are robust to the inclusion of machine-specific or match-specific heterogeneity into the benchmark model.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 05-01.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:05-01

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Keywords: Contracts ; Technology;

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  1. Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Vintage Capital and Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 497-530, April.
  2. Christopher Pissarides & Giovanna Vallanti, 2004. "Productivity growth and employment: theory and panel estimates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2189, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1994. "Growth and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 477-94, July.
  4. Petrongolo, Barbara & Pissarides, Christopher, 2000. "Looking Into The Black Box: A Survey Of The Matching Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 2409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
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  7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1997. "Jobless Growth: Appropriability, Factor Substitution, and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 6221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  9. Cohen, Daniel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1994. "Uneven technical process and job destructions," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9412, CEPREMAP.
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  12. Akerlof, George A, 1969. "Structural Unemployment in a Neoclassical Framework," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 399-407, May/June.
  13. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  14. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-62, June.
  16. King, Ian & Welling, Linda, 1995. "Search, unemployment, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 499-507, June.
  17. Sattinger, Michael, 1995. "Search and the Efficient Assignment of Workers to Jobs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 283-302, May.
  18. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  19. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Robert E. Hall, 2003. "Wage Determination and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 9967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Andreas Hornstein & GianLuca Violante & Per Krusell, 2006. "Frictional Wage Inequality: A Puzzle?," 2006 Meeting Papers 7, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  22. Katharine G. Abraham & Robert Shimer, 2001. "Changes in Unemployment Duration and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 8513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Costain, James S. & Reiter, Michael, 2008. "Business cycles, unemployment insurance, and the calibration of matching models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1120-1155, April.
  2. Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2007. "Creative destruction with on-the-job search," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19658, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Technology—Policy Interaction in Frictional Labour-Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 1089-1124.
  4. Canova, Fabio & Lopez-Salido, Jose David & Michelacci, Claudio, 2007. "The Labour Market Effects of Technology Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Rubart, Jens, 2006. "Heterogeneous Labor, Labor Market Frictions and Employment Effects of Technological Change. Theory and Empirical Evidence for the U.S. and Europe," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 36783, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).
  6. Fabio Canova & David Lopez-Salido & Claudio Michelacci, 2009. "The ins and outs of unemployment: An analysis conditional on technology shocks," Economics Working Papers 1213, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2012.
  7. Fabio Canova & David Lopez-Salido & Claudio Michelacci, 2006. "Schumpeterian technology shocks," Economics Working Papers 1012, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2007.

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