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Adjusting to a New Technology: Experience and Training

  • Elhanan Helpman
  • Antonio Rangel

In this paper we study how aggregate output responds to the arrival of a new General Purpose Technology (GPT) by looking at adjustment mechanisms that operate through labor markets. We show that under a wide set of circumstances the arrival of a new GPT that raises long-run output can trigger a recession in the short-run. Furthermore, we characterize features of the GPT that produce a cyclical adjustment path. An initial recession occurs whenever a higher education level is required to operate the new GPT. But a recession can also occur when the new GPT has lower educational requirements. A cyclical adjustment path is more likely when inexperienced workers are less productive with the new technology and the faster productivity rises with experience in the new sector.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1833.

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Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1833
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  4. Elhanan Helpman & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1996. "Diffusion of General Purpose Technologies," NBER Working Papers 5773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:adr:anecst:y:1998:i:49-50:p:02 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. repec:fth:prinin:377 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. Elhanan Helpman & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1994. "A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap: Growth Based on General Purpose Technologies," NBER Working Papers 4854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:pri:indrel:377 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-29, April.
  11. repec:adr:anecst:y:1998:i:49-50 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. 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.
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