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Declining Labor Share: Is China's Case Different?

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  • Changyuan Luo
  • Jun Zhang

Abstract

This paper explores why labor share in China has declined since the middle of the 1990s. Existing literature usually ascribes the labor share decline in developed countries to biased technological progress. However, our investigation shows that China's case is different. Using a simultaneous equation model estimated with three-stage least squares, we find that FDI, levels of economic development and privatization have negative effects on the labor share. The negative influence of FDI on labor share results from regional competition for FDI, which weakens labor forces' bargaining power. A U-shaped relationship exists between labor share and the level of economic development, and China is now on the declining part of the curve. The negative effects of privatization on the labor share stem from the elimination of the so-called "wage costs eroding profit" situation and the positive supply shock on the labor market. Copyright (c) 2010 The Authors China & World Economy (c) 2010 Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Suggested Citation

  • Changyuan Luo & Jun Zhang, 2010. "Declining Labor Share: Is China's Case Different?," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 18(6), pages 1-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:chinae:v:18:y:2010:i:6:p:1-18
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1749-124X.2010.01217.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Du, Julan & Fang, Hongsheng & Jin, Xiangrong, 2014. "The “growth-first strategy” and the imbalance between consumption and investment in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 441-458.
    2. Lu Ming & Zhao Chen & Yongqin Wang & Yan Zhang & Yuan Zhang & Changyuan Luo, 2013. "China’s Economic Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14502.
    3. Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Galli, Silvia, 2014. "Stage-dependent intellectual property rights," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 239-249.
    4. Guerriero, Marta & Sen, Kunal, 2012. "What Determines the Share of Labour in National Income? A Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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