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The replacement problem in frictional economies : a near equivalence result

  • Andreas Hornstein
  • Per Krusell
  • Giovanni L. Violante

We examine how technological change affects wage inequality and unemployment in a calibrated model of matching frictions in the labor market. We distinguish between two polar cases studied in the literature: a "creative destruction" economy where new machines enter chiefly through new matches and an "upgrading" economy where machines in existing matches are replaced by new machines. Our main results are: (i) these two economies produce very similar quantitative outcomes, and (ii) the total amount of wage inequality generated by frictions is very small. We explain these findings in light of the fact that, in the model calibrated to the U.S. economy, both unemployment and vacancy durations are very short, i.e., the matching frictions are quantitatively minor. Hence, the equilibrium allocations of the model are remarkably close to those of a frictionless version of our economy where firms are indifferent between upgrading and creative destruction, and where every worker is paid the same market-clearing wage. These results are robust to the inclusion of machine-specific or match-specific heterogeneity into the benchmark model.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 05-01.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:05-01
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1991. "Growth and Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 577, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Akerlof, George A, 1969. "Structural Unemployment in a Neoclassical Framework," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 399-407, May/June.
  3. Claudio Michelacci & David López-Salido, 2003. "Technology shocks and job flows," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0308, Banco de Espa�a.
  4. Andreas Hornstein & GianLuca Violante & Per Krusell, 2006. "Frictional Wage Inequality: A Puzzle?," 2006 Meeting Papers 7, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Cohen, Daniel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1994. "Uneven technical process and job destructions," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9412, CEPREMAP.
  6. Jovanovic, B., 1998. "Vintage Capital and Equality," Working Papers 98-16, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  7. Caballero, R.J. & Hammour, M.L., 1997. "Jobless Growth: Appropriability, Factor-Substitution, and Unemployment," Working papers 97-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1998. "Technological Progress, Job Creation and Job Destruction," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(4), pages 733-753, October.
  9. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  10. Ridder, Geert & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Measuring Labor Market Frictions: A Cross-Country Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Vintage Capital and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 6416, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  13. King, Ian & Welling, Linda, 1995. "Search, unemployment, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 499-507, June.
  14. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  15. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  16. Christopher Pissarides & Giovanna Vallanti, 2004. "Productivity growth and employment: theory and panel estimates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2189, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. repec:fth:starer:9816 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. 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.
  19. Bartel, Ann P & Sicherman, Nachum, 1993. "Technological Change and Retirement Decisions of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 162-83, January.
  20. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 1996. "Can Technology Improvements Cause Productivity Slowdowns?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 209-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Katharine G. Abraham & Robert Shimer, 2001. "Changes in Unemployment Duration and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 8513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Robert E. Hall, 2003. "Wage Determination and Employment Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 9967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  24. Sattinger, Michael, 1995. "Search and the Efficient Assignment of Workers to Jobs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 283-302, May.
  25. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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