Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The global upward trend in the profit share

Contents:

Author Info

  • Luci Ellis
  • Kathryn Smith

Abstract

Profits growth has been strong in many developed economies in recent years, and the profit share - the share of factor income going to capital – has been high compared with historical experience. This paper shows that, rather than being a recent phenomenon, profit shares have trended upwards since about the mid 1980s in most developed economies for which comparable data are available. There are a number of possible explanations for this, but not all of them are consistent with a global trend over two decades, nor do they fit cross-country differences in the trend in the profit share. The preferred explanation advanced in this paper is that ongoing technological progress has increased the rate of obsolescence of capital goods. This induces a greater rate of churn in both capital and jobs, which puts firms in a stronger bargaining position relative to a labour force that now faces more frequent job losses on average. Firms can therefore reap a larger fraction of the economic surplus created by market frictions, which raises the measured profit share. This effect is stronger where labour market institutions are more rigid, consistent with the cross-country pattern in the trends in the profit share. There is also a positive relationship between the size of the trend in the profit share, and the extent of product market regulation. This suggests a role for competition and innovation in driving down high profit margins. These explanations appear to fit the data better than alternatives raised in the literature.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work231.pdf
File Function: Full PDF document
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work231.htm
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 231.

as in new window
Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:231

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centralbahnplatz 2, CH - 4002 Basel
Phone: (41) 61 - 280 80 80
Fax: (41) 61 - 280 91 00
Email:
Web page: http://www.bis.org/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Profit share; technological progress; vintage capital;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
  2. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  3. Cadiou, Loı̈c & Dées, Stéphane & Laffargue, Jean-Pierre, 2003. "A computational general equilibrium model with vintage capital," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1961-1991.
  4. Paul Conway & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 2006. "Product Market Regulation in the Non-Manufacturing Sectors of OECD Countries: Measurement and Highlights," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 530, OECD Publishing.
  5. Caroli, Eve & Van Reenen, John, 1999. "Skill biased organizational change? Evidence from a panel of British and French establishments," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9917, CEPREMAP.
  6. Lynn Elaine Browne & Rebecca Hellerstein, 1997. "Are we investing too little?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 29-50.
  7. Benoit Dostie & Mathieu Trépanier, 2004. "Return to Computer Use and Organizational Practices of the firm," Cahiers de recherche 04-06, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:231. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Timo Laurmaa).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.