IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Identifying the elasticity of substitution with biased technical change

  • León-Ledesma, Miguel A.
  • McAdam, Peter
  • Willman, Alpo

Despite being critical parameters in many economic fields, the received wisdom, in theoretical and empirical literatures, states that joint identification of the elasticity of capital-labor substitution and technical bias is infeasible. This paper challenges that pessimistic interpretation. Putting the new approach of "normalized" production functions at the heart of a Monte Carlo analysis we identify the conditions under which identification is feasible and robust. The key result is that the jointly modeling the production function and first-order conditions is superior to single-equation approaches in terms of robustly capturing production and technical parameters, especially when merged with "normalization". Our results will have fundamental implications for production-function estimation under non-neutral technical change, for understanding the empirical relevance of normalization and the variability underlying past empirical studies. JEL Classification: C22, E23, O30, 051

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1001.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091001
Contact details of provider: Postal: 60640 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Phone: +49 69 1344 0
Fax: +49 69 1344 6000
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Zonghie Han & Bertram Schefold, 2006. "An empirical investigation of paradoxes: reswitching and reverse capital deepening in capital theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(5), pages 737-765, September.
  2. Ronald W. Jones, 1965. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 557.
  3. Klump, Rainer & Preissler, Harald, 2000. " CES Production Functions and Economic Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 41-56, March.
  4. J. D. Pitchpord, 1960. "GROWTH and THE ELASTICITY OF FACTOR SUBSTITUTION-super-1," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 36(76), pages 491-504, December.
  5. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Growth of Nations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 275-326.
  6. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Labor- And Capital-Augmenting Technical Change," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-37, 03.
  7. Charles I. Jones, 2004. "The Shape of Production Function and the Direction of Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 10457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stefano Zambelli, 2004. "The 40% neoclassical aggregate theory of production," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 99-120, January.
  9. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
  10. Kumar, T Krishna & Gapinski, James H, 1974. "Nonlinear Estimation of the CES Production Parameters: A Monte Carlo Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-67, November.
  11. Rowthorn, Robert, 1999. "Unemployment, Wage Bargaining and Capital-Labour Substitution," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 413-25, July.
  12. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2008. "Medium run redux: technical change, factor shares and frictions in the euro area," Working Paper Series 0915, European Central Bank.
  13. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Daron Acemoglu, 2001. "Directed Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 8287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1994. "Small Sample Bias and Adjustment Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 52-58, February.
  16. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2007. "Factor Substitution and Factor-Augmenting Technical Progress in the United States: A Normalized Supply-Side System Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 183-192, February.
  17. Willman, Alpo, 2002. "Euro area production function and potential output: a supply side system approach," Working Paper Series 0153, European Central Bank.
  18. Chirinko, Robert S., 2008. "[sigma]: The long and short of it," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 671-686, June.
  19. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2013. "Medium Run Redux," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(04), pages 695-727, June.
  20. Thursby, Jerry, 1980. "Alternative CES Estimation Techniques," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(2), pages 295-99, May.
  21. Olivier de La Grandville & Rainer Klump, 2000. "Economic Growth and the Elasticity of Substitution: Two Theorems and Some Suggestions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 282-291, March.
  22. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
  23. Marquetti, Adalmir A., 2003. "Analyzing historical and regional patterns of technical change from a classical-Marxian perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 191-200, October.
  24. Berndt, Ernst R, 1976. "Reconciling Alternative Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(1), pages 59-68, February.
  25. Duffy, John & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2000. " A Cross-Country Empirical Investigation of the Aggregate Production Function Specification," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 87-120, March.
  26. Schefold, Bertram, 2008. "C.E.S. production functions in the light of the Cambridge critique," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 783-797, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Identifying the Elasticity of Substitution with Biased Technical Change (AER 2010) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Official Publications)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.