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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. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  3. Baily, Martin Neil & Bartelsman, Eric J. & Haltiwanger, John, 1995. "Labor productivity: structural change and cyclical dynamics," Serie Research Memoranda 0050, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2001. "Trade in Capital Goods," NBER Working Papers 8070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. 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.
  9. Plutarchos Sakellaris, 2001. "Patterns of plant adjustment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-05, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  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. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," CEPR Discussion Papers 1221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Charles R. Hulten, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change is Embodied in Capital," NBER Working Papers 3971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bartelsman, Eric J & Caballero, Ricardo J & Lyons, Richard K, 1994. "Customer- and Supplier-Driven Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1075-84, September.
  14. John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 1999. "Why is productivity procyclical? Why do we care?," International Finance Discussion Papers 638, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  17. Boyan Jovanovic & Rafael Rob, 1997. "Solow vs. Solow: Machine Prices and Development," NBER Working Papers 5871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Shea, John, 1993. "Do Supply Curves Slope Up?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 1-32, February.
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  24. 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.
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  26. Greenwood, J. & Yorukoglu, M., 1996. "1974," RCER Working Papers 429, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
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