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Labor's Share Fluctuations, Biased Technical Change, and the Business Cycle

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  • Andrew Young

    (Emory University)

Abstract

We extend the basic RBC model to allow for biased technical changes. One broad definition of biased technical changes is changes that directly affect factor elasticities. Given the link between changes in factor elasticities and factor shares, observed fluctuations in US labor's share are motivation for this study. We find that when the technology shock process is calibrated according to US labor's share dynamics, 93 percent of US GDP volatility is accounted for. The observed countercyclical nature of labor's share is accounted for, although the model correlation is too high. As well, the model exhibits business cycles that are qualitatively similar to those of the standard model with neutral technology shocks. These findings, while robust to the short-run properties of various measures of labor's share, are sensitive to the average labor's share used in calibration, e.g. departing from a baseline calibration value of 63 percent, for steady-state labor's shares of 50 percent and 70 percent the model accounts for 107 percent and 84 percent of US GDP volatility respectively. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Young, 2004. "Labor's Share Fluctuations, Biased Technical Change, and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(4), pages 916-931, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:7:y:2004:i:4:p:916-931
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2004.07.001
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    8. Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül, 2010. "Redistributive shocks and productivity shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 931-948, November.
    9. Shigeru Wakita, 2006. "The Lost Decade in the Japanese Labor Market : Labor’s share and Okun’s Law," Labor Economics Working Papers 22317, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    10. Coeurdacier, Nicolas & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2016. "When bonds matter: Home bias in goods and assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 119-137.
    11. Fabien Tripier, 2009. "Elasticity of factor substitution and the rise in labor's share of income during the Great Depression," Working Papers hal-00419343, HAL.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Biased technical change; business cycles; macroeconomics; real business cycle theory.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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