Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Global Decline of the Labor Share

Contents:

Author Info

  • Loukas Karabarbounis
  • Brent Neiman

Abstract

The stability of the labor share of income is a key foundation in macroeconomic models. We document, however, that the global labor share has significantly declined since the early 1980s, with the decline occurring within the large majority of countries and industries. We show that the decrease in the relative price of investment goods, often attributed to advances in information technology and the computer age, induced firms to shift away from labor and toward capital. The lower price of investment goods explains roughly half of the observed decline in the labor share, even when we allow for other mechanisms influencing factor shares such as increasing profits, capital-augmenting technology growth, and the changing skill composition of the labor force. We highlight the implications of this explanation for welfare and macroeconomic dynamics.

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.nber.org/papers/w19136.pdf
Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19136.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Brent Neiman, 2013. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19136

Note: EFG IFM ME
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

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. Francisco Rodriguez & Arjun Jayadev, 2010. "The Declining Labor Share of Income," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-36, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects Of Regulation And Deregulation In Goods And Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 879-907, August.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Inflation and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Fernald & Brent Neiman, 2006. "Measuring the miracle: market imperfections and Asia's growth experience," Working Paper Series 2006-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. Duffy, John & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2000. " A Cross-Country Empirical Investigation of the Aggregate Production Function Specification," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 87-120, March.
  6. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 562-585, June.
  7. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  8. León-Ledesma, Miguel A. & McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2009. "Identifying the elasticity of substitution with biased technical change," Working Paper Series 1001, European Central Bank.
  9. Loukas Karabarbounis & Brent Neiman, 2012. "Declining Labor Shares and the Global Rise of Corporate Saving," NBER Working Papers 18154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 2002. "Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 963-991, June.
  11. Restuccia, Diego & Urrutia, Carlos, 2001. "Relative prices and investment rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 93-121, February.
  12. Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül, 2010. "Redistributive shocks and productivity shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 931-948, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. What's up with the labor income share?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-08-13 14:44:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Prasad, Eswar, 2013. "Distributional Effects of Macroeconomic Policy Choices in Emerging Market Economies," IZA Discussion Papers 7777, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Michael W.L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegül Sahin, 2013. "The decline of the U.S. labor share," Working Paper Series 2013-27, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. John Y. Campbell, 2013. "Comment on "Shocks and Crashes"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2013, Volume 28, pages 355-366 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John G. Fernald & Charles I. Jones, 2014. "The Future of U.S. Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 19830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Anton Korinek & Jonathan Kreamer, 2013. "The Redistributive Effects of Financial Deregulation," IMF Working Papers 13/247, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Peter Paz & Carlos Urrutia, 2014. "Economic Growth and Wage Stagnation in Perú: 1998-2012," Documentos de Trabajo 2014-372, Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
  7. Ahsan, Reshad N. & Mitra, Devashish, 2014. "Trade liberalization and labor's slice of the pie: Evidence from Indian firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 1-16.
  8. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Dmitri Koustas, 2013. "Amerisclerosis? The Puzzle of Rising U.S. Unemployment Persistence," NBER Working Papers 19600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Saltari, Enrico & Federici, Daniela, 2013. "Elasticity of substitution and technical progress: Is there a misspecification problem?," MPRA Paper 52194, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Christian Belabed & Thomas Theobald & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income Distribution and Current Account Imbalances," INET Research Notes 36, Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).
  11. Michael Siegenthaler & Tobias Stucki, 2014. "Dividing the Pie: the Determinants of Labor’s Share of Income on the Firm Level," KOF Working papers 14-352, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  12. Salverda, Wiemer & Checchi, Daniele, 2014. "Labour-Market Institutions and the Dispersion of Wage Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 8220, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income Distribution and the Current Account: A Sectoral Perspective," INET Research Notes 35, Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).
  14. D'Agostino, Antonello & Mendicino, Caterina, 2014. "Expectation-Driven Cycles: Time-varying Effects," MPRA Paper 53607, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income distribution and current account: A sectoral perspective," IMK Working Paper 125-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  16. Joseph S. Vavra, 2014. "Time-Varying Phillips Curves," NBER Working Papers 19790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2013. "Is The Phillips Curve Alive and Well After All? Inflation Expectations and the Missing Disinflation," NBER Working Papers 19598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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:nbr:nberwo:19136. 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: ().

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.