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Industry evolution and transition: the role of information capital

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  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Patrick J. Kehoe

Abstract

In this paper, we build a model of the transition following large-scale economic reforms that predicts both a substantial drop in output and a prolonged pause in physical investment as the initial phase of the optimal transition following the reform. We model reform as a change in policy which induces agents to close existing enterprises using old technologies of production and to open up new enterprises adopting new technologies of production. The central idea of our paper is that it is costly to close old enterprises and open new enterprises because, in doing so, information capital built up about old enterprises is lost and time must pass before information capital about new enterprises can be acquired. Thus, an acceleration of the pace of industry evolution leads in the short run to a net loss of information capital, a drop in productivity, a recession, and a fall in physical investment. We calibrate our model of industry evolution, information capital, and transition to match micro data on industry evolution in the United States and macro data from the United States, Japan, and the former communist countries of Europe. We find that the loss of information capital that accompanies a major acceleration in the pace of industry evolution in an economy leads initially to a decade of recession and a five year pause in physical investment before the benefits of reform are realized.

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  • Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Industry evolution and transition: the role of information capital," Staff Report 162, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:162
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fumio Hayashi, 1989. "Japan's Saving Rate: New Data and Reflections," NBER Working Papers 3205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 1991. "Technology adoption and growth," Staff Report 136, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    3. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    4. Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U. S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-698.
    5. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-863.
    6. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    7. Guillermo A. Calvo & Fabrizio Coricelli, 1993. "Output Collapse in Eastern Europe: The Role of Credit," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 32-52, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2000. "Algorithms for solving dynamic models with occasionally binding constraints," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1179-1232, July.
    2. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2007. "Modeling the Transition to a New Economy: Lessons from Two Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 64-88, March.
    3. Boyan Jovanovic & Chung-Yi Tse, 2006. "Creative Destruction in Industries," NBER Working Papers 12520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 2000. "Mass layoffs and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 121-142, August.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1999. "On the Macroeconomic Effects of Major Technological Change," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 25, pages 15-32.
    6. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rousseau, Peter L., 2005. "General Purpose Technologies," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1181-1224 Elsevier.
    7. Anders Åslund & Peter Boone & Simon Johnson, 1996. "How to Stabilize: Lessons from Post-communist Countries," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 217-314.
    8. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2002. "The transition to a new economy after the Second Industrial Revolution," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    9. Philippe Aghion & Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1994. "On the Speed of Transition Central Europe," NBER Working Papers 4736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Julien Vercueil, 1998. "Qu'apporte la théorie évolutionniste à la compréhension de la transition en Russie ? Une application : temps incertitude et institutions," Working Papers halshs-01418945, HAL.
    11. Howitt, Peter & Aghion, Philippe, 1997. "Ajustement macroéconomique aux technologies multi-usages," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 73(4), pages 575-593, décembre.
    12. Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
    13. Cesar Martinelli, 2001. "Essays on Political Economy of Political Reform," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000135, David K. Levine.

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    Keywords

    Economic development ; Technology;

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