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Do Technological Improvements in the Manufacturing Sector Raise or Lower Employment?

  • Yongsung Chang
  • Jay H. Hong

We find that technology's effect on employment varies greatly across manufacturing industries. Some industries exhibit a temporary reduction in employment in response to a permanent increase in TFP, whereas many more industries exhibit an employment increase in response to a permanent TFP shock. This raises serious questions about existing work that finds a labor productivity shock has a strong negative effect on employment. There are tantalizing and interesting differences between TFP and labor productivity. We argue that TFP is a more natural measure of technology because labor productivity reflects shifts in the input mix as well as in technology.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/000282806776157687
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/mar06_data_20030462.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 352-368

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:1:p:352-368
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282806776157687
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  1. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2002. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1986, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Gali, J., 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," Working Papers 96-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  7. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 870, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Mikael Carlsson, 2003. "Measures of Technology and the Short-run Response to Technology Shocks," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(4), pages 555-579, December.
  9. Marchetti, Domenico J. & Nucci, Francesco, 2005. "Price stickiness and the contractionary effect of technology shocks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1137-1163, July.
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  11. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher J. Gust, 2004. "Can long-run restrictions identify technology shocks?," International Finance Discussion Papers 792, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Yongsung Chang & Andreas Hornstein & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2004. "Productivity, employment, and inventories," Working Paper 04-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  13. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  14. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity Growth at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 213-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
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  17. Ellen McGrattan & V. V. Chari & Patrick Kehoe, 2005. "Are Structural VARs Useful Guides for Developing Business Cycle Theories?," 2005 Meeting Papers 664, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
  19. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jon Faust & Eric M. Leeper, 1994. "When do long-run identifying restrictions give reliable results?," International Finance Discussion Papers 462, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  22. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-53, September.
  23. Kortum, Samuel, 1993. "Equilibrium R&D and the Patent-R&D Ratio: U.S. Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 450-57, May.
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