@johngordon Not every industry and not every firm will see the same thing. But I wonder if this is a longer term trend that reverses many of the older industrial trends. I am still somewhat shocked that it is reasonable to run a factory in your spare time.
@johngordon So the return to scale is changing. A hundred individuals each doing X on their own might be more productive in the long run than a firm with 100 employees. Computers reduce individual overhead more than firm overhead.
@johngordon But a large institution finds that changes like this are proportionally more expensive. As time goes on, they end up spending more and more resources keeping their IBM AS400 mini computer running, for example.
@johngordon At a small scale, it becomes easy to hop from pad to pad as the tech changes. You get an iPhone this year and next year you switch to Android. Or you switch from a desktop accounting system to an online webapp. Moving is easy. Agile.
@johngordon But in the long term, it seems like the computer as a whole provides increased returns at small scale but less help for large scale. At a small scale, the computer now allows any individual to do things they never could before.
@johngordon I think a lot about whether technology strengthens individuals or institutions. Some tech (like the container (read The Box it is great and I just finished it)) provides increased returns at large scale but little help for small scale.
@johngordon OTOH, when you do regional comparisons, the places with the highest density of college graduates do also contain the highest wages for non-college graduates. I seem to recall reading a few articles to that effect.
@johngordon It is a bit tricky. When I've seen time series, the increase in college graduation over the last decade does not seem to have caused a nationwide decline in the college premium or a consequent increase in less than college wages.
@johngordon Yeah. I think that DeLong has this one very wrong. All we have to do is look at the history of demand for those who have a high school degree. As high school graduation moved from rare to ubiquitous, non-graduates always saw a large income gap.