Weekly Seminar

Akos Valentinyi

University of Cardiff

25-Mar-2013

Seminar 3 – 14:30

Abstract

This paper assesses the importance for structural transformation of three features of sectoral technology: labor–augmenting technological progress, capital intensity, and substitutability between capital and labor. We estimate CES production functions for agriculture, manufacturing, and services on postwar US data and compare them with Cobb-Douglas production functions with different and with equal capital shares. We find that sectoral differences in labor-augmenting technological progress are the main force behind the trends in observed relative prices and sectoral labor. As a result, sectoral Cobb-Douglas production functions with equal capital shares (which by construction abstract from differences in the elasticity of substitution and in capital shares) do a good job of capturing the postwar US structural transformation.

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