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The Media is the Measure: Technical change and employment, 1909-1949

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  • Jon Cohen

    (University of Toronto)

  • Michelle Alexopoulos

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

New indicators, based on technology titles, are used to measure the impact of innovative activity on the U.S. labor market between 1909 and 1949. We find positive technology shocks raised productivity, employment, vacancies and labor turnover and lowered unemployment. Moreover, innovations in automotive and electrical had a greater positive impact on employment than those in mechanical. The overall results, compatible with the predictions of the real business cycle model, raise questions about the anemic recovery in employment after 1934 since the strong upsurge in technical change failed to be accompanied by an equally vigorous expansion in jobs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 301.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:301

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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
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  3. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 17-73 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Gospodinov, Nikolay & Maynard, Alex & Pesavento, Elena, 2011. "Sensitivity of Impulse Responses to Small Low-Frequency Comovements: Reconciling the Evidence on the Effects of Technology Shocks," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(4), pages 455-467.
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  12. Michelle Alexopoulos, 2010. "Read All About it!! What happens following a technology shock?," Working Papers tecipa-391, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "New Deal policies and the persistence of the Great Depression: a general equilibrium analysis," Working Papers 597, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "The response of hours to a technology shock: evidence based on direct measures of technology," International Finance Discussion Papers 790, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Harrison, Rupert & Jaumandreu Balanzo, Jordi & Mairesse, Jacques & Peters, Bettina, 2008. "Does Innovation Stimulate Employment? A Firm-Level Analysis Using Comparable Micro-Data From Four European Countries," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-111, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  17. Galí, Jordi, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Ramey, Valerie A & Francis, Neville, 2002. "Is The Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead? Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations Revisted," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6x80k3nx, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  19. Robert A. Margo, 1993. "Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 41-59, Spring.
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