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The role of capital service-life in a model with heterogenous labor and vintage capital


  • Milton H. Marquis
  • Wuttipan Tantivong
  • Bharat Trehan


We examine how the economy responds to both disembodied and embodied technology shocks in a model with vintage capital. We focus on what happens when there is a change in the number of vintages of capital that are in use at any one time and on what happens when there is a change in the persistence of the shocks hitting the economy. The data suggest that these kinds of changes took place in the U.S. economy in the 1990s, when the pace of embodied technical progress appears to have accelerated. We find that embodied technology shocks lead to greater variability (of output, investment and labor allocations) than disembodied shocks of the same size. On the other hand, a decrease in the number of vintages in use at any time (such as is likely to occur when the pace of technical progress accelerates) tends to reduce the volatility of output and also to differentiate the initial response of the economy to the two shocks.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2009-24

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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Marquis, Milton H. & Trehan, Bharat, 2008. "On using relative prices to measure capital-specific technological progress," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1390-1406, December.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 342-362, June.
    8. Simon Gilchrist & John C. Williams, 2000. "Putty-Clay and Investment: A Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 928-960, October.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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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    Technology ; Technological innovations ; Labor productivity;

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