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Coût relatif capital-travail et substitution : existe-t-il encore un lien ?


  • Jérôme Henry
  • Véronique Leroux
  • Pierre-Alain Muet


[eng] Relative Cost of Capital to Labour and Substitution : Does the Link Still Exist ? Jérôme Henry, Véronique Leroux, Pierre-Alain Muet In France, the slowdown in economic growth which occurred after each oil shock has been followed by a simultaneous reduction of the productivity of both labour and capital. This is contrary to the substitu- tion that should have occurred since the early 1980s, on the basis of the sustained increase in real interest rates and the stagnation of wages. It helps to explain the difficulties faced when trying to identify econometrically a significant impact of capital cost investment in recent past years. The article shows however that the evolution of the average factor productivity becomes consistent with the movement of relative factor costs once two effects are taken into account : on the one hand the impact of delays in the adjustment of capital to slower growth ; and on the other hand the less favourable effects of inter-industry factor mobility. We first analyze different hypotheses related to the magnitude of the effects of substitution, and then present a quantitative assessment of the different influences which are likely to affect the evolution of both labour and capital productivity. As this study does not find any marked slow-down of technical progress, it would seem that the potential growth of the French economy may remain strong. [fre] Le ralentissement de la croissance économique intervenu après chacun des chocs pétroliers s'est accompagné en France d'une réduction simultanée des productivités du capital et du travail. Cette évolution, contradictoire avec les effets de substitution qu'auraient dû entraîner la forte montée des taux d'intérêts réels et la stagnation du salaire réel depuis le début des années quatre-vingt, explique notamment les difficultés à metttre en évidence un impact significatif du coût du capital sur l'investissement dans les estimations économétriques incorporant les années récentes. L'article montre que l'évolution des productivités moyennes des facteurs de production redevient compatible avec celle de leur coût relatif dès lors qu'on prend en compte deux effets : d'une part l'impact des délais d'ajustement du capital au ralentissement de la croissance et d'autre part la diminution des effets favorables de la mobilité intersectorielle des facteurs. Après avoir examiné différentes hypothèses relatives à l'importance des effets de substitution, on propose un bilan quantitatif des différents éléments susceptibles d'influencer l'évolution des productivités du travail et du capital. L'étude ne mettant pas en évidence de ralentissement marqué du progrès technique, la croissance potentielle de l'économie française devrait rester élevée.

Suggested Citation

  • Jérôme Henry & Véronique Leroux & Pierre-Alain Muet, 1988. "Coût relatif capital-travail et substitution : existe-t-il encore un lien ?," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 24(1), pages 163-182.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1988_num_24_1_1148
    Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1988.1148

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Dubois, 1985. "Ruptures de croissance et progrès technique," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 181(1), pages 3-31.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Passet & Christine Rifflart & Henri Sterdyniak, 1997. "Ralentissement de la croissance potentielle et hausse du chômage," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 60(1), pages 109-146.
    2. Brigitte Dormont, 1994. "Quelle est l'influence du coût du travail sur l'emploi ?," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 45(3), pages 399-414.
    3. Brigitte Dormont, 1997. "L'influence du coût salarial sur la demande de travail," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 301(1), pages 95-109.
    4. Damien Girardot & Eric Jondeau, 1990. "La substitution entre capital et travail : une évaluation sur données d'entreprises," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 237(1), pages 135-142.

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