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Return of the Solow Paradox? IT, Productivity, and Employment in U.S. Manufacturing

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • David Autor
  • David Dorn
  • Gordon H. Hanson
  • Brendan Price

Abstract

An increasingly influential “technological-discontinuity” paradigm suggests that IT-induced technological changes are rapidly raising productivity while making workers redundant. This paper explores the evidence for this view among the IT-using U.S. manufacturing industries. There is some limited support for more rapid productivity growth in IT-intensive industries depending on the exact measures, though not since the late 1990s. Most challenging to this paradigm, and our expectations, is that output contracts in IT-intensive industries relative to the rest of manufacturing. Productivity increases, when detectable, result from the even faster declines in employment.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19837.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
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Publication status: published as Daron Acemoglu & David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson & Brendan Price, 2014. "Return of the Solow Paradox? IT, Productivity, and Employment in US Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 394-99, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19837

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  1. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002. "Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1559-1576, December.
  2. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  3. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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