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Return of the Solow Paradox? IT, Productivity, and Employment in US 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 US 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 to 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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 394-399, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:5:p:394-99
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.5.394
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daron Acemoglu & David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson & Brendan Price, 2016. "Import Competition and the Great US Employment Sag of the 2000s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 141-198.
    2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    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.
    4. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bonanno, 2016. "ICT and R&D as inputs or efficiency determinants? Analysing Italian manufacturing firms (2007–2009)," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 6(3), pages 383-404, December.
    2. Peter Cappelli, 2014. "Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages and Skill Mismatches: Evidence for the US," NBER Working Papers 20382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:spr:jlabrs:v:50:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s12651-017-0227-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Seth G. Benzell & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Guillermo LaGarda & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2015. "Robots Are Us: Some Economics of Human Replacement," NBER Working Papers 20941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Aum, Sangmin & Lee, Tim & Shin, Yongseok, 2018. "Computerizing Industries and Routinizing Jobs: Explaining Trends in Aggregate Productivity," TSE Working Papers 18-893, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    6. Graetz, Georg & Michaels, Guy, 2015. "Robots at work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61155, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Roberto Antonietti & Francesco Farina & Fulvio Fontini, 2016. "A Rational Explanation for the Redistribution Paradox. Theory and Empirical Evidence," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 63(5), pages 539-555, November.
    8. Bonanno, Graziella, 2014. "ICT and R&D as inputs or efficiency determinants? Analysing the manufacturing Italian firms over the 2007-2009," MPRA Paper 57640, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Thor Berger & Carl Benedikt Frey, 2016. "Structural Transformation in the OECD: Digitalisation, Deindustrialisation and the Future of Work," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 193, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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