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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. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Cohen, Daniel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1994. "Uneven technical process and job destructions," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9412, CEPREMAP.
  3. Christopher Pissarides & Giovanna Vallanti, 2004. "Productivity growth and employment: theory and panel estimates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2189, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Vintage Capital and Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 497-530, April.
  5. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. 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.
  7. Petrongolo, Barbara & Pissarides, Christopher, 2000. "Looking Into The Black Box: A Survey Of The Matching Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 2409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. Ridder, Geert & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Measuring Labor Market Frictions: A Cross-Country Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  11. Claudio Michelacci & David Lopez-Salido, 2007. "Technology Shocks and Job Flows," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 1195-1227.
  12. 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.
  13. Caballero, R.J. & Hammour, M.L., 1997. "Jobless Growth: Appropriability, Factor-Substitution, and Unemployment," Working papers 97-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. King, Ian & Welling, Linda, 1995. "Search, unemployment, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 499-507, June.
  15. 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.
  16. Katharine G. Abraham & Robert Shimer, 2001. "Changes in Unemployment Duration and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 8513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Akerlof, George A, 1969. "Structural Unemployment in a Neoclassical Framework," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 399-407, May/June.
  18. repec:oup:restud:v:61:y:1994:i:3:p:477-94 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Robert E. Hall, 2003. "Wage Determination and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 9967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. repec:oup:restud:v:61:y:1994:i:3:p:397-415 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  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.
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