James W. Robertson
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|October 1987||Energy, Obsolescence, and the Productivity Slowdown|
with Charles R. Hulten, Frank C. Wykoff: w2404
The growth rate of output per worker in the U.S. declined sharply during the 1970's. A leading explanation of this phenomenon holds that the dramatic rise in energy prices during the 1970's caused a significant portion of the U.S. capital stock to become obsolete. This led to a decline in effective capital input which, in turn, caused a reduction in the reduction in the growth rate of output per worker. This paper examines a key prediction of this hypothesis. If there is a significant link between energy and capital obsolescence, it should be revealed in the market price of used capital: if rising energy costs did in fact render older, energy-inefficient capital obsolete, prospective buyers should have reduced the price that they were willing to pay for that capital. An examination of the ...
Published: in Technology and Captial Formation, Ed. Dale Jorgenson and Ralph Landers, MIT Press, 1989.