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Expensed and sweat equity

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  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Edward C. Prescott

Abstract

Expensed investments are expenditures financed by the owners of capital that increase future profits but, by national accounting rules, are treated as an operating expense rather than as a capital expenditure. Sweat investment is financed by worker-owners who allocate time to their business and receive compensation at less than their market rate. Such investments are made with the expectation of realizing capital gains when the business goes public or is sold. But these investments are not included in GDP. Taking into account hours spent building equity while ignoring the output introduces an error in measured productivity and distorts the picture of what is happening in the economy. In this paper, we incorporate expensed and sweat equity in an otherwise standard business cycle model. We use the model to analyze productivity in the United States during the 1990s boom. We find that expensed plus sweat investment was large during this period and critical for understanding the dramatic rise in hours and the modest growth in measured productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 636.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:636

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Keywords: Productivity;

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References

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  1. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  2. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Ellen R. McGrattan, 2004. "Comment on Gali and Rabanal's "Technology shocks and aggregate fluctuations: how well does the RBC model fit postwar U.S. data?"," Staff Report 338, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Taxes, Regulations, and the Value of U.S. and U.K. Corporations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 767-796.
  5. Robert Solow, 1994. "Book Reviews," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 167-171.
  6. Kevin J. Stiroh & Dale W. Jorgenson, 1999. "Information Technology and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 109-115, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Katya Kartashova, 2011. "The Private Equity Premium Puzzle Revisited," Working Papers 11-6, Bank of Canada.
  2. Benjamin Bental & Dominique Demougin, 2005. "Do Factor Shares Reflect Technology?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-050, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  3. Kyoji Fukao & Tsutomu Miyagawa & Kentaro Mukai & Yukio Shinoda & Konomi Tonogi, 2008. "Intangible Investment in Japan: New Estimates and Contribution to Economic Growth," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-015, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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