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Sectoral Patterns of Distribution in Slowly Growing Economies: The case of nine OECD countries in the 1980s and 1990s

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  • Pascal Petit

Abstract

Slow productivity growth has put pressure on the distribution of income between wages and profits in ways that are not amenable to a US versus Europe dichotomy but vary between sectors (especially between manufacturing and service activities) as well as among countries. Over the 1980s and the 1990s, wage flexibility and profit margin flexibility in service sectors-characterised, respectively, by high shares of total employment and high shares of total profits-outlined three growth patterns: countries adjusting to slow productivity growth by means of considerable flexibility in relative wages in services (as in the US, the UK and Germany); adjustment through flexibility in relative profit margins (as in France, Canada and Sweden); and finally, an absence of change in the sectoral structure of distribution (as in Japan, Italy and Belgium). These patterns may be associated with either changes in wage and profit rates or structural adjustments (such as changes in the share of part time jobs, or changes in the composition of the capital stock). They are shown to be an important influence on the prospect of a resumption of high productivity growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 13 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 333-351

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Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:13:y:1999:i:3:p:333-351

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  1. Michael F. Förster, 1994. "Measurement of Low Incomes and Poverty in A Perspective of International Comparisons," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 14, OECD Publishing.
  2. Baumol, William J, 1972. "Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 150, March.
  3. David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Glyn, Andrew, 1995. "Unemployment and inequality," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 95-303, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  5. Martin Neil Baily & Robert J. Gordon, 1988. "The Productivity Slowdown, Measurement Issues, and the Explosion of Computer Power," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 347-432.
  6. Harrison, Bennett & Bluestone, Barry, 1990. "Wage Polarisation in the U.S. and the 'Flexibility' Debate," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-73, September.
  7. Baumol, William J. & Batey Blackman, Sue Anne & Wolff, Edward N., 1984. "Unbalanced Growth Revisited: Asymptotic Stagnancy and New Evidence," Working Papers 84-02, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity, R&D, and the Data Constraint," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 347-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gottschalk, Peter, 1993. "Changes in Inequality of Family Income in Seven Industrialized Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 136-42, May.
  10. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 1994. "Computers and Output Growth Revisited: How Big Is the Puzzle?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 273-334.
  11. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  12. Bauer, John & Mason, Andrew, 1992. "The Distribution of Income and Wealth in Japan," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 38(4), pages 403-28, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Parto,Saeed & Ciarli,Tommaso & Arora,S. ., 2005. "Economic growth, innovation systems, and institutional change: A Trilogy in Five Parts," Research Memorandum 020, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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