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On The Rental Price Of Capital And The Profit Rate: The Perils And Pitfalls Of Total Factor Productivity Growth

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  • Jesus Felipe

    ()

  • J. S. L. McCombie

    ()

Abstract

This 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 labour plus the cost of capital), and used in growth accounting studies; and the 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 surplus. This identity, however, is a "real" one, in the sense that it does not depend on any assumptions and thus it holds always. It is shown that because the neoclassical cost identity and the income accounting identity according to the NIPA are 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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series CAMA Working Papers with number 2004-10.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2004-10

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  1. John Fernald & Brent Neiman, 2010. "Growth accounting with misallocation: Or, doing less with more in Singapore," Working Paper Series 2010-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Simon, Herbert A., 1978. "Rational Decision-Making in Business Organizations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1978-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  3. Nelson, Richard R, 1981. "Research on Productivity Growth and Productivity Differences: Dead Ends and New Departures," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 1029-64, September.
  4. Samuelson, Paul A, 1979. "Paul Douglas's Measurement of Production Functions and Marginal Productivities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 923-39, October.
  5. Felipe, Jesus & McCombie, J. S. L., 1999. "Wan's "New Approach" to Technical Change: A Comment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 355-363, June.
  6. Nadiri, M Ishaq, 1970. "Some Approaches to the Theory and Measurement of Total Factor Productivity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 1137-77, December.
  7. Jesus Felipe & Carsten Holz, 2001. "Why do Aggregate Production Functions Work? Fisher's simulations, Shaikh's identity and some new results," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 261-285.
  8. Labini, Paolo Sylos, 1995. "Why the interpretation of the Cobb-Douglas production function must be radically changed," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 485-504, December.
  9. Shaikh, Anwar, 1974. "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 115-20, February.
  10. Jesus Felipe & F. Gerard Adams, 2005. ""A Theory of Production" The Estimation of the Cobb-Douglas Function: A Retrospective View," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 427-445, Summer.
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