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Unemployment and Innovation

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  • Joseph Stiglitz

    () (Columbia University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes equilibrium, dynamics, and optimal decisions on the factor bias of innovation in a model of induced innovation. In a model with full employment, we show that (a) if the elasticity of substitution is always less than or greater than unity, there is a unique steady state equilibrium; (b) if the elasticity of substitution is less than unity, the steady state is stable, but convergence is oscillatory; (c) if the elasticity of substitution is greater than unity, the steady state is a saddle point; and (d) if the elasticity of substitution is less than unity for both high and low effective capital labor ratios but greater than unity for intermediate values, then there can be multiple steady states. In a model where efficiency wages lead to equilibrium unemployment, we show that if the elasticity of substitution is less than unity, there will be a bias towards excessive labor augmenting innovation, resulting in too high unemployment, with convergence to the unique steady state being oscillatory, rather than monotonic. Similarly, if the elasticity of substitution between skilled and unskilled labor is less than unity, and there is efficiency wage unemployment for unskilled labor only, there is will be excessively skill-biased innovation. This paper provides an alternative resolution to the Harrod-Domar conundrum of the disparity between the natural and warranted rate of growth to that of Solow, with strong policy implications, for instance, concerning the effects of income distribution and monetary policy both in the short run and the long.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Stiglitz, 2015. "Unemployment and Innovation," Working Papers Series 1, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
  • Handle: RePEc:thk:wpaper:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gatti, Domenico Delli & Gallegati, Mauro & Greenwald, Bruce C. & Russo, Alberto & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2012. "Mobility constraints, productivity trends, and extended crises," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 375-393.
    2. Greiner, Alfred & Rubart, Jens & Semmler, Willi, 2004. "Economic growth, skill-biased technical change and wage inequality: A model and estimations for the US and Europe," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 597-621, December.
    3. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2013. "The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1553-1597, August.
    4. Daron Acemoglu, 2010. "When Does Labor Scarcity Encourage Innovation?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1037-1078.
    5. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1986. "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 229-264.
    6. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2015. "Leaders and followers: Perspectives on the Nordic model and the economics of innovation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 3-16.
    2. Erik Brynjolfsson & Daniel Rock & Chad Syverson, 2018. "Artificial Intelligence and the Modern Productivity Paradox: A Clash of Expectations and Statistics," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mattauch, Linus & Klenert, David & Stiglitz, Joseph E. & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2017. "Piketty meets Pasinetti: On public investment and intelligent machinery," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168156, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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