The Global Decline of the Labor Share
AbstractThe 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.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19136.
Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
- E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Capital; Investment; Capacity
- E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-06-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAB-2013-06-16 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-MAC-2013-06-16 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-OPM-2013-06-16 (Open Economy Macroeconomic)
- NEP-PKE-2013-06-16 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- 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.
- John Y. Campbell, 2013. "Comment on "Shocks and Crashes"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2013, Volume 28 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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