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The importance of the embodied question revisited

  • Raouf Boucekkine
  • Fernando del Río
  • Omar Licandro

In order to assess the importance of embodiment, we build up an endogenous growth model in which learning by doing is the engine of both embodied and disembodied technological progress. In sharp contrast to Phelps (1962), we show that a change in the composition of technical change affects the growth rate in the long run. We also provide an alternative explanation for the productivity slowdown: an increase in the fraction of embodied technical progress, through an improvement in the learning efficiency of the capital goods sector, permanently lowers the growth rate of technological progress, by increasing the obsolescence costs of investment. The productivity slowdown occurs together with a rise in the rate of decline of investment goods prices. Finally, we show that an increase in the embodied fraction of technical change reduces the gap between the optimal and the decentralized growth rates.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 99-13.

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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:99-13
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  1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  2. R. Boucekkine & M. Germain & O. Licandro & A. Magnus, . "Creative destruction, investment volatility, and the average age of capital," Working Papers 97-08, FEDEA.
  3. 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.
  4. Raouf Boucekkine & Fernando del Río & Omar Licandro, . "Endogenous vs Exogenously Driven Fluctuations in Vintage Capital Models," Working Papers 98-19, FEDEA.
  5. 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.
  6. Martin Neil Baily, 1981. "Productivity and the Services of Capital and Labor," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 1-66.
  7. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1991. "Vintage capital, investment, and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 323-339, December.
  8. Raouf Boucekkine & Marc Germain & Omar Licandro, . "Replacement echoes in the vintage capital growth model," Working Papers 96-16, FEDEA.
  9. Parente Stephen L., 1994. "Technology Adoption, Learning-by-Doing, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 346-369, August.
  10. Hercowitz, Zvi, 1998. "The 'embodiment' controversy: A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 217-224, February.
  11. Jeremy Greenwood & Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Accounting for Growth," NBER Working Papers 6647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Jeremy Greenwood & Boyan Jovanovic, 2001. "Accounting for Growth," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 179-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Martin N. Baily & Eric J. Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger, 1994. "Downsizing and productivity growth: myth or reality?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-7, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Krusell, Per, 1998. " Investment-Specific R&D and the Decline in the Relative Price of Capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 131-41, June.
  14. 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.
  15. Martin Neil Baily & Robert J. Gordon, 1988. "The Productivity Slowdown, Measurement Issues, and the Explosion of Computer Power," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 347-432.
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