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On using relative prices to measure capital-specific technological progress

  • Milton Marquis
  • Bharat Trehan

Recently, Greenwood, Hercowitz and Krusell (GHK) have identified the relative price of (new) capital with capital-specific technological progress. In a two-sector growth model, however, the relative price of capital equals the ratio of the productivity processes in the two sectors. Restrictions from this model are used with data on wages and prices to construct measures of productivity growth and test the GHK identification, which is easily rejected by the data. This raises questions about various measures of the contribution that capital-specific technological progress might make to the economy. This identification also induces a negative correlation between the resulting measures of capital-specific and economy-wide technological change, which potentially explains why papers employing this identification find that capital-specific technological change accelerated in the mid-1970s. We impose structure on the productivity measures based on their long run behavior and find evidence of a slowdown in productivity in the 1970s that is common to both sectors and an acceleration in the mid-1990s that is exclusive to the capital sector.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2005-02.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2005-02
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  1. Perron, P. & Bai, J., 1995. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Cahiers de recherche 9552, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
  3. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-62, June.
  4. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2002. "Technology shocks matter," Working Paper Series WP-02-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The Resurgence of Growth in the Late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
  6. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
  7. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1998. "The Role of Investment-Specific Technological Change in the Business Cycle," RCER Working Papers 449, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  9. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 2000. "The IT revolution : is it evident in the productivity numbers?," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 49-78.
  10. Hulten, Charles R, 1973. "Divisia Index Numbers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(6), pages 1017-25, November.
  11. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  12. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2002. "What Explains the Industrial Revolution in East Asia? Evidence From the Factor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 502-526, June.
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