On the Rental Price of Capital and the Profit Rate: The Perils and Pitfalls of Total Factor Productivity Growth
AbstractThis paper considers the implications of the conceptual difference between the rental price of capital, embedded in the neoclassical cost identity (output equals the cost of labor plus the cost of capital), which is used in growth accounting studies; and the accounting profit rate, which can be derived from the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA). The neoclassical identity is a 'virtual' identity in that it depends on a series of assumptions (constant returns to scale and perfectly competitive factor markets). The income side of the NIPA also provides an accounting identity for output as the sum of the wage bill plus the gross operating surplus. This identity, however, is a 'real' one, in the sense that it does not depend on any assumption and thus it always holds. It is shown that because the neoclassical cost identity and the income accounting identity according to the NIPA may be expressed as formally equivalent expressions, estimations of aggregate production functions and growth accounting studies are tautologies. Likewise, the test of the hypothesis of competitive markets using Hall's (1988) framework gives rise to a null hypothesis that cannot be rejected statistically. Finally, it is argued that the NIPA identity does hold in constant prices, pace Denison (1972a, 1972b).
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Political Economy.
Volume (Year): 19 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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Other versions of this item:
- Jesus Felipe & J. S. L. McCombie, 2004. "On The Rental Price Of Capital And The Profit Rate: The Perils And Pitfalls Of Total Factor Productivity Growth," CAMA Working Papers 2004-10, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
- O47 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
- E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Capital; Investment; Capacity
- E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
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