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Quantifying embodied technological change

  • Sakellaris, Plutarchos
  • Wilson, Daniel J.

We estimate the rate of embodied technological change directly from plant-level manufacturing data on current output and input choices along with histories on their vintages of equipment investment. Our estimates range between 8 and 17 percent for the typical U.S. manufacturing plant during the years 1972-1996. Any number in this range is substantially larger than is conventionally accepted with some important implications. First, the role of investment-specific technological change as an engine of growth is even larger than previously estimated. Second, existing producer durable price indices do not adequately account for quality change. As a result, measured capital stock growth is biased. Third, if accurate, the Hulten and Wykoff (1981) economic depreciation rates may primarily reflect obsolescence. JEL Classification: O3, D24, L60

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0158.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20020158
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  1. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "Trade in Capital Goods," Levine's Working Paper Archive 228400000000000019, David K. Levine.
  2. Stephen D. Oliner, 1993. "Constant-Quality Price Change , Depreciation, and Retirement of Mainframe Computers," NBER Chapters, in: Price Measurements and Their Uses, pages 19-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Plutarchos Sakellaris, 2000. "Patterns of Plant Adjustment," Electronic Working Papers 00-001, University of Maryland, Department of Economics.
  5. 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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  8. Martin Neil Baily & Eric J. Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger, 1998. "Labor Productivity: Structural Change and Cyclical Dynamics," Working Papers 98-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Boyan Jovanovic & Rafael Rob, 1997. "Solow vs. Solow: Machine Prices and Development," NBER Working Papers 5871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1.
  12. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 67-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Timothy Dunne, 1991. "Technology Usage in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: New Evidence from the Survey of Manufacturing Technology," Working Papers 91-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1994. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 94-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 2000. "The role of investment-specific technological change in the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 91-115, January.
  16. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
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  21. repec:umd:umdeco:sakellaris0001 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Huggett, Mark & Ospina, Sandra, 2001. "Does productivity growth fall after the adoption of new technology?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 173-195, August.
  23. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-62, June.
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  27. McHugh, Richard & Lane, Julia, 1987. "The Age of Capital, the Age of Utilized Capital, and Tests of the Embodiment Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 362-67, May.
  28. Hulten, Charles R, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change Is Embodied in Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 964-80, September.
  29. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
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