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Productivity shocks in a model with vintage capital and heterogeneous labor

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  • Milton H. Marquis
  • Bharat Trehan

Abstract

We construct a vintage capital model in which worker skills lie along a continuum and workers can be paired with different vintages (as technology evolves) under a matching rule of "best worker with the best machine." Labor reallocation in response to technology shocks has two key implications for the wage premium. First, it limits both the magnitude and duration of change in the wage premium following a (permanent) embodied technology shock, so empirically plausible shocks do not lead to the kind of increases in the wage premium observed in the U.S. during the 1980s and early 1990s (though an increase in labor force heterogeneity does). Second, positive disembodied technology shocks tend to push up the wage premium as well, and while this effect is small, it does mean that a higher premium does not provide unambiguous information about the underlying shock. Labor reallocation also means that if embodied technology comes to play a larger role in long-run growth, investment and savings tend to fall in steady state, with little effect on output and employment, enabling the household to increase consumption without sacrificing leisure. The short run effects are more conventional: permanent shocks to disembodied technology induce a strong wealth effect that reduces savings and induces a consumption boom while permanent shocks to embodied technology induce dominant substitution effects and an expansion characterized by an investment boom.

Suggested Citation

  • Milton H. Marquis & Bharat Trehan, 2007. "Productivity shocks in a model with vintage capital and heterogeneous labor," Working Paper Series 2007-06, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2007-06
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    File URL: http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/papers/2007/wp07-06bk.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Edmund S. Phelps, 1962. "The New View of Investment: A Neoclassical Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 548-567.
    3. Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Vintage Capital and Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 497-530, April.
    4. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    5. Philippe Aghion, 2002. "Schumpeterian Growth Theory and the Dynamics of Income Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 855-882, May.
    6. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 342-362.
    7. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    8. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Kevin L. McKinney, 2002. "The Measurement of Human Capital in the U.S. Economy," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.
    9. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-220, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Milton H. Marquis & Wuttipan Tantivong & Bharat Trehan, 2009. "The role of capital service-life in a model with heterogenous labor and vintage capital," Working Paper Series 2009-24, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Marquis, Milton H. & Trehan, Bharat & Tantivong, Wuttipan, 2014. "The wage premium puzzle and the quality of human capital," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 100-110.

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    Keywords

    Productivity;

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