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A Framework for Economic Growth with Capital-Embodied Technical Change, American Economic Review


Technological advance is often embodied in capital inputs. This paper develops a model where capital innovations occur on two margins: (1) productivity, where a capital input becomes more productive at a given task; and (2) automation, where a capital input replaces labor at a given task. These two forms of technological advance engage in a macroeconomic "tug of war" when capital and labor have less than a unitary elasticity of substitution, and the resulting framework can meet numerous macroeconomic regularities. First, it can produce a balanced growth path, satisfying the Uzawa Growth Theorem. Second, it can produce intuitive macroeconomic dynamics, adding perspectives on the apparent productivity slowdown and declining labor share of income. Third, it can produce rich industry dynamics and inform structural change, including declining GDP shares of agriculture and manufacturing, sectoral bottlenecks, and the limited macroeconomic impacts of computing. Overall, this tractable framework can help resolve puzzling tensions between micro-level observations of technological advance and macroeconomic features of economic growth.




Benjamin F. Jones, Xiaojie Liu

Date Published



Jones, Benjamin F., and Xiaojie Liu. 2024. A Framework for Economic Growth with Capital-Embodied Technical Change. American Economic Review.(5)


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