In order to assess the importance of embodiment, we build up an endogenous growth model in which learning by doing is the engine of both embodied and disembodied technological progress. In sharp contrast to Phelps (1962), we show that a change in the composition of technical change affects the growth rate in the long run. We also provide an alternative explanation for the productivity slowdown: an increase in the fraction of embodied technical progress, through an improvement in the learning efficiency of the capital goods sector, permanently lowers the growth rate of technological progress, by increasing the obsolescence costs of investment. The productivity slowdown occurs together with a rise in the rate of decline of investment goods prices. Finally, we show that an increase in the embodied fraction of technical change reduces the gap between the optimal and the decentralized growth rates.
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