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Biased Technical Change, Intermediate Goods, And Total Factor Productivity

  • Moro, Alessio

In this paper I show that the intensity at which intermediate goods are used in the production process affects aggregate total factor productivity (TFP). To do this, I construct an input–output model economy in which firms produce gross output by means of a production function in capital, labor, and intermediate goods. This production function is subject, together with the standard neutral technical change, to intermediates-biased technical change . Positive (negative) intermediates-biased technical change implies a decline (increase) in the elasticity of gross output with respect to intermediate goods. In equilibrium, this elasticity appears as an explicit part of TFP in the value added aggregate production function. In particular, when the elasticity of gross output with respect to intermediates increases, aggregate TFP declines. I use the model to quantify the impact of intermediates-biased technical change for measured TFP growth in Italy. The exercise shows that intermediates-biased technical change can account for the productivity slowdown observed in Italy from 1994 to 2004.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Macroeconomic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2012)
Issue (Month): 02 (April)
Pages: 184-203

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Handle: RePEc:cup:macdyn:v:16:y:2012:i:02:p:184-203_00
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  1. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Glenn Macdonald, 2009. "Legal Institutions, Sectoral Heterogeneity, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 529-561.
  2. Berthold Herrendorf & Arilton Teixeira, . "How Barriers to International Trade Affect TFP," Working Papers 2167724, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  3. Richard Rogerson & Diego Restuccia, 2004. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," 2004 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Guner, Nezih & Ventura, Gustavo & Xu, Yi (Daniel), 2007. "Macroeconomic Implications of Size-Dependent Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1996. "Imperfect Competition and the Effects of Energy Price Increases on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 5634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Edward C. Prescott & Stephen L. Parente, 1999. "Monopoly Rights: A Barrier to Riches," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1216-1233, December.
  7. Wolff, Edward N, 1996. "The Productivity Slowdown: The Culprit at Last? Follow-Up on Hulten and Wolff," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1239-52, December.
  8. Bruno, Michael, 1984. "Raw Materials, Profits, and the Productivity Slowdown," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(1), pages 1-29, February.
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