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Is embodied technology the result of upstream R&D? industry-level evidence

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  • Daniel J. Wilson

Abstract

In this paper, I develop an industry-level index of capital-embodied R&D by capturing the extent of research and development directed at the capital goods in which a given industry invests. Compiling and adjusting data from the National Science Foundation and Commerce Department, I construct industry-level, time-series measures of this index and investigate its properties. The data allow me to identify the R&D directed at the development of specific types of capital rather than incorrectly assuming industry R&D spending is equivalent to R&D directed at the industry's product, an assumption typically made in the R&D literature. It is first shown that R&D directed at a type of capital is a good measure of its technological change. The constructed index of an industry's capital-embodied R&D is then compared to rates of embodied technological change estimated using plant-level manufacturing data. The index of embodied R&D is found to be positively and significantly related to the estimated rates of embodied technological change. Likewise, embodied R&D is shown to have a positive and significant effect on conventionally-measured total factor productivity growth (i.e. the Solow Residual). This has two implications. First, the capital component of the Solow Residual is generally mismeasured as it does not adequately capture technological change. Second, the constructed index of embodied R&D is proportional to true embodied technological change. Rates of embodied technological change are thus imputed for non-manufacturing industries using the estimated relationship between embodied R&D and embodied technological change found in the manufacturing data.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Wilson, 2001. "Is embodied technology the result of upstream R&D? industry-level evidence," Working Paper Series 2001-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2001-17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
    2. Basmann, Robert L. & McAleer, Michael & Slottje, Daniel, 2007. "Patent activity and technical change," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 139(2), pages 355-375, August.
    3. Caselli, Francesco & Wilson, Daniel J., 2004. "Importing technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-32, January.
    4. Max Elger, 2007. "Endogenous Growth and Investment-Specific Innovations - Evidence and Predictions," 2007 Meeting Papers 897, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. L. Rachel Ngai & Roberto M. Samaniego, 2006. "An R&D-Based Model of Multi-Sector Growth," CEP Discussion Papers dp0762, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. Daniel Wilson, 2003. "Embodying Embodiment in a Structural, Macroeconomic Input-Output Model," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 371-398.
    7. Wilson, Daniel J., 2009. "IT and Beyond: The Contribution of Heterogeneous Capital to Productivity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 52-70.
    8. repec:spr:joptap:v:163:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s10957-013-0453-y is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Venturini, Francesco, 2012. "Looking into the black box of Schumpeterian growth theories: An empirical assessment of R&D races," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1530-1545.
    10. Roberto M Samaniego, 2005. "Investment-Specific Technical Change and the Production of Ideas," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 291, Society for Computational Economics.
    11. Richard Dion & Robert Fay, 2008. "Understanding Productivity: A Review of Recent Technical Research," Discussion Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.
    12. Raouf Boucekkine & Natali Hritonenko & Yuri Yatsenko, 2011. "Sustainable growth under pollution quotas: optimal R&D, investment and replacement policies," Working Papers halshs-00632887, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technology ; Research and development;

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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