Vintage Capital and Inequality
If machines are indivisible, a vintage capital model must give rise to income inequality. If new machines are always better than old ones and if society cannot provide everyone with a new machine all of the time, inequality will result. I explore this mechanism in detail. If technology resides in machines and if a firm or worker must use just one technology at a time, a variety of machines will be in use, and workers' productivities will differ. This is because not everyone can be given the latest vintage machine all of the time. Inequality thus originates in the limited capacity of the capital goods sector. If machine quality and skill are complements, a worker who is paired with the best machine will acquire more skill, and inequality persists indefinitely. Moreover, if the used equipment market or the process of labor turnover function without frictions, a perfect positive assignment between the quality of labor and of capital can be maintained by a process of continual reassignment. This serves to enhance the degree of equilibrium inequality. Paradoxically, in this type of model, free migration of labor across borders raises cross-country inequality instead of lowering it as it does in some other models.
|Date of creation:||Feb 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Review of Economic Dynamics, Vol. 1, no. 2 (April 1998): 497-530|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
- Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1991.
"Vintage capital, investment, and growth,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 323-339, December.
- Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1990. "Vintage Capital, Investment And Growth," Working Papers 90-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Jess Benhabib & Aldo Rustichini, 1990. "Vintage Capital, Investment and Growth," Discussion Papers 886, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "Analytical Approximations in Models of Hysteresis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 141-51, January.
- Boyan Jovanovic & Yaw Nyarko, 1994.
"Learning By Doing and the Choice of Technology,"
NBER Working Papers
4739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Parente Stephen L., 1994. "Technology Adoption, Learning-by-Doing, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 346-369, August.
- Thomas F. Cooley & Jeremy Greenwood & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 1994.
"The Replacement Problem,"
9408, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
- Thomas F. Cooley & Jeremy Greenwood & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 1994. "The replacement problem," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 95, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Cooley, T.F. & Greenwood, J. & Yorukoglu, M., 1997. "The Replacement Problem," RCER Working Papers 444, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Cooley, T.F. & Greenwood, J. & Yorukoglu, M., 1995. "The Replacement Problem," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9508, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
- Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
- Daron Acemoglu & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1994.
"Was Prometheus unbound by chance? Risk, diversification and growth,"
Economics Working Papers
98, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 709-51, August.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1996. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988.
"Income Distribution and Macroeconomics,"
51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
- Michael Gort & Raford Boddy, 1967. "Vintage Effects and the Time Path of Investment in Production Relations," NBER Chapters, in: The Theory and Empirical Analysis of Production, pages 395-430 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Caselli, G & Ventura, J, 1996.
"A Representative Consumer Theory of Distribution,"
534, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- 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 342-62, June.
- 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.
- Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1996. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," RCER Working Papers 420, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- 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.
- Sattinger, Michael, 1975. "Comparative Advantage and the Distributions of Earnings and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 455-68, May.
- Doms, Mark & Dunne, Timothy & Troske, Kenneth R, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-90, February.
- Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Inflation and Welfare in the Steady State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 561-77, June.
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
- Greenwood, Jeremy & Yorukoglu, Mehmet, 1997.
Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy,
Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 49-95, June.
- Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804, August.
- Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
- Donald Siegel, 1998. "The Impact Of Technological Change On Employment: Evidence From A Firm-Level Survey Of Long Island Manufacturers," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2-4), pages 227-246.
- Michele Boldrin & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1988. "Learning-By-Doing, International Trade and Growth: A Note," UCLA Economics Working Papers 462, UCLA Department of Economics.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6416. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.