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Biased Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function

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  • Thomas Michl

Abstract

This paper offers a classical model of biased technical change in the MarxRicardo tradition as a framework for theoretical and applied studies of growth. The observable data it generates would appear to an unsuspecting economist to be well-described by a neoclassical model with a static Cobb-Douglas production function, when in fact this production function describes only the technological history of the economy. The CobbDouglas form results from the capital-using, labour-saving bias of technical change. The model's trajectory in wage-profit space will lie along the displaced image of the neoclassical factor price frontier, in contradiction to marginal productivity theory. The Solow residual can be reinterpreted by the classical theory as a measure of the size of this displacement.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Michl, 1999. "Biased Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 193-206.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:13:y:1999:i:2:p:193-206
    DOI: 10.1080/026921799101652
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    2. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    3. Kurz,Heinz D. & Salvadori,Neri, 1997. "Theory of Production," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521588676, December.
    4. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Michl, Thomas R, 1991. "Wage-Profit Curves in U.S. Manufacturing," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 271-286, September.
    6. Paul A. Samuelson, 1962. "Parable and Realism in Capital Theory: The Surrogate Production Function," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 193-206.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniele Tavani & Luca Zamparelli, 2017. "Endogenous Technical Change In Alternative Theories Of Growth And Distribution," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 1272-1303, December.
    2. Daniele Tavani, 2013. "Bargaining over productivity and wages when technical change is induced: implications for growth, distribution, and employment," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 207-244, July.
    3. Dumenil, Gerard & Levy, Dominique, 2003. "Technology and distribution: historical trajectories a la Marx," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 201-233, October.
    4. Anwar Shaikh, 2005. "Nonlinear Dynamics and Pseudo-Production Functions," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 447-466, Summer.
    5. zamparelli, luca, 2008. "Direction and intensity of technical change: a micro-founded growth model," MPRA Paper 10843, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Luca Zamparelli, 2011. "Induced Innovation, Endogenous Growth, and Income Distribution: a Model along Classical Lines," Working Papers CELEG 1102, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    7. Luca Zamparelli, 2009. "Direction and Intensity of Technical Change: a Micro Model," Working Papers 4, Doctoral School of Economics, Sapienza University of Rome.
    8. Joao Paulo A. de Souza, 2014. "Real wages and labor-saving technical change: evidence from a panel of manufacturing industries in mature and labor-surplus economies," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2014-03, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    9. Lee, Chien-Chiang & Chang, Chun-Ping, 2008. "Energy consumption and economic growth in Asian economies: A more comprehensive analysis using panel data," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 50-65, January.
    10. Foley, Duncan K., 2003. "Endogenous technical change with externalities in a classical growth model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 167-189, October.
    11. Ali Raza Cheema & Attiya Yasmin Javid, 2015. "The Relationship between Disaggregate Energy Consumption, Economic Growth and Environment for Asian Developing Economies," PIDE-Working Papers 2015:115, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.

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