The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Biased and Unbiased Technological Change

  • Peter L. Rousseau
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_89

Abstract

This article provides working definitions of biased and unbiased technological change based on the relative responses of the marginal products of capital and labour that occur in the face of economic shocks. These Hicksian definitions are distinguished from others that focus on how technology augments the production function. The bias and augmentation of technical progress are then linked through the substitutability of labour and capital. Examples of ‘labour-biased’ and ‘capital-biased’ technological change from the 19th century to the present illustrate these ideas.

Keywords

Biased and unbiased technological change CES production function Cobb–Douglas functions Elasticity of substitution Information technology Neutral production functions Skill-bias Technical change 

JEL Classifications

O3 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Acemoglu, D. 2002. Directed technical change. Review of Economic Studies 69: 781–809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Devine, W.D. Jr. 1983. From shafts to wires: Historical perspective on electrification. Journal of Economic History 43: 347–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Harrod, R.F. 1937. Review of Joan Robinson’s essays in the theory of employment. Economic Journal 47: 326–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Harrod, R.F. 1948. Towards a dynamic economics. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Hicks, J. 1932. The theory of wages. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. James, J.A. 1983. Structural change in American manufacturing, 1850–1890. Journal of Economic History 43: 433–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kennedy, C. 1964. Induced bias in innovation and the theory of distribution. Economic Journal 74: 541–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Pigou, A.C. 1920. The economics of welfare. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Sato, R., and M.J. Beckmann. 1968. Neutral inventions and production functions. Review of Economic Studies 35: 57–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Solow, R.M. 1959. Investment and technical change. In Mathematical methods in the social sciences, ed. K.J. Arrow, S. Karlin, and P. Suppes. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Uzawa, H. 1961. Neutral inventions and the stability of growth equilibrium. Review of Economic Studies 28: 117–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter L. Rousseau
    • 1
  1. 1.