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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tang, Ya & Xu, Jianguo & Zhang, Xun, 2017. "China's investment and rate of return on capital revisited," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 12-25.
    2. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2008. "The Returns on Human Capital: Good News on Wall Street is Bad News on Main Street," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(5), pages 2097-2137, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Arpaia, Alfonso & Pérez, Esther & Pichelmann, Karl, 2009. "Understanding labour income share dynamics in Europe," MPRA Paper 15649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Enchuan Shao & Pedro Silos, 2014. "Accounting For The Cyclical Dynamics Of Income Shares," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 778-795, April.
    6. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2008. "How Structural Are Structural Parameters?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 83-137 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Zuleta, Hernando & Young, Andrew T., 2013. "Labor shares in a model of induced innovation," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 112-122.
    11. Michele Boldrin, 2009. "Growth And Cycles, In The Mode Of Marx And Schumpeter," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 56(s1), pages 415-442, September.
    12. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Hanno Lustig, 2005. "The Returns on Human Wealth: Good News on Wall Street is Bad News on Main Street," 2005 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Masaru Inaba & Keisuke Otsu, 2016. "Regional Business Cycle and Growth Features of Japan," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-1005, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    14. Hernando Zuleta & Andrew T. Young, 2007. "Labor's shares - aggregate and industry: accounting for both in a model of unbalanced growth with induced innovation," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 003105, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Biased technical change; business cycles; macroeconomics; real business cycle theory.;

    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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