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The Replacement Problem in Frictional Economies: An 'Equivalence Result'

  • Hornstein, Andreas
  • Krusell, Per
  • Violante, Giovanni L

We examine how technological change affects wage inequality and unemployment in a calibrated model of matching frictions in the labour market. We distinguish between two polar cases studied in the literature: a ‘creative destruction’ economy where new machines enter chiefly through new matches, and an ‘upgrading’ economy where machines in existing matches are replaced by new machines. Our main results are: (i) these two economies produce very similar quantitative outcomes, and (ii) the total amount of wage inequality generated by frictions is very small. We explain these findings in light of the fact that, in the model calibrated to the US economy, both unemployment and vacancy durations are very short, i.e., the matching frictions are quantitatively minor. Hence, the equilibrium allocations of the model are remarkably close to those of a frictionless version of our economy where firms are indifferent between upgrading and creative destruction, and where every worker is paid the same market-clearing wage. These results are robust to extensions of the benchmark model that incorporate machine-specific and match-specific heterogeneity.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5026.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5026
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  1. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1996. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," RCER Working Papers 420, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  3. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
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  9. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
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  13. Bartel, Ann P & Sicherman, Nachum, 1993. "Technological Change and Retirement Decisions of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 162-83, January.
  14. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. King, Ian & Welling, Linda, 1995. "Search, unemployment, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 499-507, June.
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  17. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1991. "Growth and Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 577, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Looking Into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," CEP Discussion Papers dp0470, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  19. Katharine G. Abraham & Robert Shimer, 2001. "Changes in Unemployment Duration and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 8513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Sattinger, Michael, 1995. "Search and the Efficient Assignment of Workers to Jobs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 283-302, May.
  21. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  22. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 1996. "Can Technology Improvements Cause Productivity Slowdowns?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 209-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1998. "Technological Progress, Job Creation and Job Destruction," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(4), pages 733-753, October.
  24. Robert E. Hall, 2003. "Wage Determination and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 9967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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