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Measuring labor’s share of income


  • Paul Gomme
  • Peter Rupert


Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show labor’s share of income at a historic low. This Policy Discussion Paper explores the BLS calculations with an eye to understanding the factors leading to the recent fall in labor’s share. While data limitations prohibit replication of the BLS series, alternative measures of labor’s share of income, based on either the nonfinancial corporate business sector or the macroeconomy more generally, are near their historic averages, quite unlike the BLS series.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Gomme & Peter Rupert, 2004. "Measuring labor’s share of income," Policy Discussion Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Nov.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcpd:y:2004:i:nov:n:7

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
    2. Boldrin, Michael & Horvath, Michael, 1995. "Labor Contracts and Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 972-1004, October.
    3. Gomme, Paul & Greenwood, Jeremy, 1995. "On the cyclical allocation of risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 91-124.
    4. Poterba, James M., 1998. "The rate of return to corporate capital and factor shares: new estimates using revised national income accounts and capital stock data," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 211-246, June.
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    Income ; Wages ; National income;


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