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Quantifying embodied technological change

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  • Sakellaris, Plutarchos
  • Wilson, Daniel J.

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Sakellaris, Plutarchos & Wilson, Daniel J., 2002. "Quantifying embodied technological change," Working Paper Series 158, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:2002158
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    embodied technological change; equipment investment; plant; producer durable price index.; productivity growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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