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After “Technical Progress and the Aggregate Production Function”



After “Technical Progress and the Aggregate Production Function” This PDF is a selection from an out-of-print volume from the National Bureau of Economic Research Volume Title: New Developments in Productivity Analysis Volume Author/Editor: Charles R. Hulten, Edwin R. Dean and Michael J. Harper, editors Volume Publisher: University of Chicago Press Volume ISBN: 0-226-36062-8 Volume URL: Publication Date: January 2001 Chapter Title: After “Technical Progress and the Aggregate Production Function― Chapter Author: Robert Solow Chapter URL: Chapter pages in book: (p. 173 - 178) Robert M. Solow is Institute Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts In- stitute of Technology. �5 After “Technical Progress and the Aggregate Production Function” Robert M. Solow My never-failing source of guidance on occasions like this is a telephone call that Paul Samuelson once made. He had agreed to be the lunch speaker at a meeting of some business group. Talking to the organizer, Paul asked: “Should I talk for 30 minutes?” The reply was, “Thirty minutes would be optimal. Twenty minutes would be better.” That 1957 paper of mine is now a little over forty years old, about the same age as my youngest child. Like my children, it has aged well, and has produced grandpapers. It is very nice of the organizers of this conference to take note of it and invite me to comment on developments since then, and perhaps still to come. It goes without saying that a lot of effort, by many hands, has gone into whittling away at the residual. Progress is being made any time some part of the residual can be imputed to some measurable input, or to some ad- justment of measured output. This process began very quickly with the work of Ed Denison, and it continues today, even at this conference. I hardly need to mention the important advances that have been made in this way, but they include the introduction of human

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