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Factor Replacement versus Factor Substitution, Mechanization and Asymptotic Harrod Neutrality

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  • Danny Givon

Abstract

This paper views technical change as a labor-saving, but capital-using, mechanization process, whereby capital replaces labor; though within any given technique, factors have a limited ability to substitute one another. This is formalized by reinterpreting the “distribution-parameters” of a low substitution CES aggregate production function as time-varying weights, such that technical change corresponds to a decrease in labor’s weight, along with an increase in capital’s. This “direction” of shift is considered a natural outcome of the fact that ideas are embedded within capital. As capital’s weight tends to one, changes in it become increasingly negligible and balanced-growth is attained. Thus the proposed non-neutral mechanism is asymptotically equivalent to Harrod-neutrality. But during industrialization, when capital grows faster than output, its “dis-augmentation” is still significant; the result being constant factor-shares. This resolves a recent controversy regarding the measurement of TFP growth, specifically in East Asian NICs. The capital-using aspect of factors’ replacement, along with the limited degree of factor substitution, also lead to time-ranked “appropriate-technologies”, which are broadly consistent with under-development; despite the lack of non-convexities.

Suggested Citation

  • Danny Givon, 2006. "Factor Replacement versus Factor Substitution, Mechanization and Asymptotic Harrod Neutrality," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_028, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  • Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c011_028
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    File URL: http://degit.sam.sdu.dk/papers/degit_11/C011_028.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Peretto, Pietro F. & Seater, John J., 2013. "Factor-eliminating technical change," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 459-473.
    2. Daniel Cardona & Fernando Sanchez Losada, 2007. "Cost-Based Models of Economic Growth," Working Papers in Economics 179, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    3. repec:eee:jmacro:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:23-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sturgill, Brad, 2012. "The relationship between factor shares and economic development," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 1044-1062.
    5. Yuki, Kazuhiro, 2012. "Mechanization, task assignment, and inequality," MPRA Paper 37754, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Peter Howitt, 2007. "Edmund Phelps: Macroeconomist and Social Scientist," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 203-224, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mechanization; Non-Neutral Technical Change; Dis-Augmentation; CES;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution

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