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What's Behind the Recent Rise in Profitability?

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  • Edward N. Wolff

    (New York Univ & Jerome Levy Econ Inst)

Abstract

Profitability in the United States has been rising since the early 1980s and by 1997 was at its highest level since its postwar peak in the mid 1960s, and the profit share, by one definition, was at its highest point. In this paper I examine the role of the change in the profit share and capital intensity, as well as structural change, on movements in the rate of profit between 1947 and 1997. Its recent recovery is traced to a rise in the profit share in national income, a slowdown in capital-labor growth on the industry level, and employment shifts to relatively labor-intensive industries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0004044.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 23 Oct 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0004044

Note: Type of Document - Adobe Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 37; figures: included
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. James M. Poterba, 1999. "The Rate of Return to Corporate Capital and Factor Shares: New EstimatesUsing Revised National Income Accounts and Capital Stock Data," NBER Working Papers 6263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Weisskopf, Thomas E, 1979. "Marxian Crisis Theory and the Rate of Profit in the Postwar U.S. Economy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 341-78, December.
  3. Dumenil, G & Glick, Mark & Rangel, J, 1987. "The Rate of Profit in the United States," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 331-59, December.
  4. Shaikh,Anwar M. & Tonak,E. Ahmet, 1997. "Measuring the Wealth of Nations," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521564793.
  5. Samuelson, Paul A, 1971. "Understanding the Marxian Notion of Exploitation: A Summary of the So-Called Transformation Problem Between Marxian Values and Competitive Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 399-431, June.
  6. Roemer, John E., 1977. "Technical change and the "tendency of the rate of profit to fall"," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 403-424, December.
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