Staff Report 269

The Scale of Production in Technological Revolutions

Matthew F. Mitchell

Published April 1, 2000

Many manufacturing industries, including the computer industry, have seen large increases in productivity growth rates and have experienced a reduction in average establishment size and a decrease in the variance of the sizes of plants. A vintage capital model is introduced where learning increases productivity on any given technology and firms choose when to adopt a new vintage. In the model, a rise in the rate of technological change leads to a decrease in both the mean and variance of the size distribution.

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