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Do technological improvements in the manufacturing sector raise or lower employment?

  • Yongsung Chang
  • Jay H. Hong

We find that technology's effect on employment varies greatly across manufacturing industries. Some industries exhibit a temporary reduction in employment in response to a permanent increase in TFP, whereas far more industries exhibit an employment increase in response to a permanent TFP shock. This raises serious questions about existing work that finds that a labor productivity shock has a strong negative effect on employment. There are tantalizing and interesting differences between TFP and labor productivity. We argue that TFP is a more natural measure of technology because labor productivity reflects shifts in the input mix as well as in technology.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 05-02.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:05-02
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  1. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
  2. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," CEPR Discussion Papers 1221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Christopher Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2004. "Can long-run restrictions identify technology shocks?," International Finance Discussion Papers 792, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Yongsung Chang & Andreas Hornstein & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2004. "Productivity, employment, and inventories," Working Paper 04-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  6. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 870, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Kortum, Samuel, 1993. "Equilibrium R&D and the Patent-R&D Ratio: U.S. Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 450-57, May.
  9. Mikael Carlsson, 2003. "Measures of Technology and the Short-run Response to Technology Shocks," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(4), pages 555-579, December.
  10. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," NBER Working Papers 2737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gali, J., 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," Working Papers 96-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
  14. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  15. John Shea, 1998. "What Do Technology Shocks Do?," NBER Working Papers 6632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Zvi Griliches & Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1984. "R&D and Productivity Growth at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 465-502 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-53, September.
  18. Gali, Jordi & Lopez-Salido, J. David & Valles, Javier, 2003. "Technology shocks and monetary policy: assessing the Fed's performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 723-743, May.
  19. Jon Faust & Eric M. Leeper, 1994. "When do long-run identifying restrictions give reliable results?," Working Paper 94-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  20. Almas Heshmati, 2003. "Productivity Growth, Efficiency and Outsourcing in Manufacturing and Service Industries," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 79-112, February.
  21. Ellen McGrattan & V. V. Chari & Patrick Kehoe, 2005. "Are Structural VARs Useful Guides for Developing Business Cycle Theories?," 2005 Meeting Papers 664, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  22. Marchetti, Domenico J. & Nucci, Francesco, 2005. "Price stickiness and the contractionary effect of technology shocks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1137-1163, July.
  23. Michael Dotsey, 2002. "Structure from shocks," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 37-47.
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