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Reconstructing labor income shares in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, 1870-2000

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  • Frankema, Ewout

Abstract

The labor income share in national income is a good indicator of the extent to which the working classes are able to reap the fruits of economic growth or, conversely, bear the burden of economic stagnation. This paper aims to reconstruct the labor income share of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in a three-sector framework, including the rural, the urban formal and the urban informal sectors. We find that in all three countries the share of labor earnings peaked in the middle of the 20th century. Fluctuations in the Brazilian and Mexican labor income shares were large, with a sharp decline in the post-1961 and post-1976 periods, respectively. In Argentina, the labor income shares tended to be more constant at levels around 50 per cent, testifying to a more stable and egalitarian distribution of income. La cuota del ingreso del trabajo en la renta nacional es un buen indicador sobre el grado en el que las clases trabajadoras han sido capaces de beneficiarse de los frutos del creciminto económico o, al contrario, sufrir la carga del estancamiento. Este artículo tiene como objetivo reconstruir la cuota del ingreso del trabajo en Argentina, Brasil y México en un contexto de tres sectores, incluyendo el rural, el formal urbano y el informal urbano. Se aprecia que en los tres países la cuota del ingreso del trabajo llega a su máximo hacia mitad del siglo XX. Las fluctuaciones de este ingreso en el caso de Brasil y México fueron muy amplias, con un declive muy agudo en el periodo posterior a 1961 y 1971 respectivamente. En Argentina estas cuotas del ingreso del trabajo tendieron a ser más constantes y mantuvieron niveles cercanos al 50 por ciento, demostrando una distribución de la renta más estable e igualitaria.

Suggested Citation

  • Frankema, Ewout, 2010. "Reconstructing labor income shares in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, 1870-2000," Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 343-374, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:reveco:v:28:y:2010:i:02:p:343-374_00
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    1. > Economic History > Regional Economic History > Latin American Economic History

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    Cited by:

    1. Leticia Arroyo Abad & Pablo Astorga Junquera, 2017. "Latin American earnings inequality in the long run," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 11(3), pages 349-374, September.
    2. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2019. "Does female empowerment promote economic development?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 309-343, December.
    3. Pablo Astorga, 2015. "Functional Inequality in Latin America: News from the Twentieth Century," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _135, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Gazeley, Ian & Holmes, Rose & Lanata Briones, Cecilia & Newell, Andrew T. & Reynolds, Kevin & Rufrancos, Hector Gutierrez, 2018. "Latin American Household Budget Surveys 1913-1970 and What They Tell Us about Economic Inequality among Households," IZA Discussion Papers 11430, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Drenik, Andrés & Perez, Diego J., 2020. "Price setting under uncertainty about inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 23-38.
    6. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2019. "Does female empowerment promote economic development?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 309-343, December.
    7. Huixin Bi & Ms. Susan S. Yang & Ms. Wenyi Shen, 2014. "Fiscal Limits, External Debt, and Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 2014/049, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Giacomo Gabbuti, 2018. "Labour Shares and Income Inequality: Insights from Italian Economic History, 1895-2015," HHB Working Papers Series 13, The Historical Household Budgets Project.
    9. Pablo Astorga, 2015. "Functional Inequality in Latin America: News from the Twentieth Century," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _135, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    10. Pablo Astorga Junquera, 2017. "Real Wages and Skill Premiums during Economic Development in Latin America," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _153, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. Alarco Tosoni, Germán, 2014. "Wage share and economic growth in Latin America, 1950-2011," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), August.
    12. Bengtsson, Erik & Waldenström, Daniel, 2018. "Capital Shares and Income Inequality: Evidence from the Long Run," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 712-743, September.
    13. Erik Bengtsson, 2014. "Labour's share in twentieth-century Sweden: a reinterpretation," Scandinavian Economic History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(3), pages 290-314, November.
    14. Bleynat, Ingrid & Challú, Amílcar & Segal, Paul, 2020. "Inequality, living standards and growth: two centuries of economic development in Mexico," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 105215, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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