IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpio/0502003.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Moore's Law, Competition and Intel's Productivity in the 1990s

Author

Listed:
  • Ana Aizcorbe

    (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Abstract

In the mid-1990s, a pickup in measured productivity growth for the semiconductor industry coincided with an economy-wide acceleration in labor productivity growth. The pickup in semiconductor markets reflected an increase in the growth of real output that was generated by what Dale Jorgenson (2001) called an “inflection point” in the price indexes for the semiconductor industry. Jorgenson hypothesized that the inflection point reflected increases in the rate of product innovation made possible by an increase in Moore’s Law, a stylized description of technology that currently states that the number of electrical components on a chip will double every eighteen months. Within semiconductors, microprocessors (MPUs) produced by Intel—the world’s largest producer of the chips that serve as a computer’s central processing unit—were the primary contributor to the inflection point in the semiconductor index. The inflection point in the price index coincided with two changes in the price contours for Intel’s chips. First, price contours for Intel’s chips became steeper around 1995. Because most price index formulae boil down to functions of weighted averages of price change, steeper price contours translate directly into more rapidly declining price indexes. At the same time, the product lifecycle for MPUs—the length of time chips are sold in the market—shortened and Intel began to introduce chips more frequently. What caused these changes in pricing and product cycles? This paper provides a simple framework to help gain some intuition on these issues. The model provides a set of conditions under which an increase in Moore’s Law is consistent with both of these stylized facts. In the model, an increase in Moore’s Law raises the quality of future chips relative to today’s chips. If consumers view these chips as substitutes, then increases in the quality of tomorrow’s chips push down the prices for today’s chips and can, under certain conditions, generate an inflection point in the price index. However, the framework also suggests that changes in the attributes of contemporaneous substitutes can have the same effects. Thus, the model suggests that increases in the quality of competitor’s chips can generate an inflection point through the same channel. This is an important possibility to consider because Intel faced increasing competition from AMD beginning in the mid-1990s, about when the inflection point occurred.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Aizcorbe, 2005. "Moore's Law, Competition and Intel's Productivity in the 1990s," Industrial Organization 0502003, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0502003
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 12. This paper is a shortened and revised version of “Product Innovation, Product Introductions and Productivity at Intel in the 1990s,” which was presented at NBER Productivity Workshop, March, 2004.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/io/papers/0502/0502003.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
    2. Ana M. Aizcorbe, 2002. "Why are semiconductor prices falling so fast? Industry estimates and implications for productivity measurement," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Unni Pillai, 2013. "A Model of Technological Progress in the Microprocessor Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 877-912, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Semiconductor Industry; Price Measurement; product cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • L - Industrial Organization

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0502003. 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: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: http://econwpa.repec.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.