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In dubio pro CES - Supply estimation with mis-specified technical change

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

Capital-labor substitution and total factor productivity (TFP) estimates are essential features of growth and income distribution models. In the context of a Monte Carlo exercise embodying balanced and near balanced growth, we demonstrate that the estimation of the substitution elasticity can be substantially biased if the form of technical progress is misspecified. For some parameter values, when factor shares are relatively constant, there could be an inherent bias towards Cobb-Douglas. The implied estimates of TFP growth also yield substantially different results depending on the specification of technical progress. A Constant Elasticity of Substitution production function is then estimated within a “normalized” system approach for the US economy over 1960:1–2004:4. Results show that the estimated substitution elasticity tends to be significantly lower using a factor augmenting specification (well below one). We are able to reject Hicks-, Harrod- and Solow-neutral specifications in favor of general factor augmentation with a non-negligible capital-augmenting component. Finally, we draw some important lessons for production and supply-side estimation. JEL Classification: C15, C32, E23, O33, O51

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1175.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20101175
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  1. Park, Joon, 2002. "Bootstrap Unit Root Tests," Working Papers 2003-04, Rice University, Department of Economics.
  2. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. 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.
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  9. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The Case of the Missing Productivity Growth: Or, Does Information Technology Explain why Productivity Accelerated in the US but not the UK?," NBER Working Papers 10010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. McAdam, Peter & Hughes Hallett, A J, 1999. " Nonlinearity, Computational Complexity and Macroeconomic Modelling," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(5), pages 577-618, December.
  12. Diamond, Peter & McFadden, Daniel & Rodriguez, Miguel, 1978. "Measurement of the Elasticity of Factor Substitution and Bias of Technical Change," Histoy of Economic Thought Chapters, in: Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel (ed.), Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications, volume 2, chapter 5 McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought.
  13. Christoffel, Kai & Warne, Anders & Coenen, Günter, 2010. "Forecasting with DSGE models," Working Paper Series 1185, European Central Bank.
  14. 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.
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  16. Klump, Rainer & Preissler, Harald, 2000. " CES Production Functions and Economic Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 41-56, March.
  17. Willman, Alpo, 2002. "Euro area production function and potential output: a supply side system approach," Working Paper Series 0153, European Central Bank.
  18. 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.
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