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Capital’s grabbing hand? A cross-industry analysis of the decline of the labor share in OECD countries

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  • Andrea Bassanini

    (OECD
    IZA)

  • Thomas Manfredi

    (OECD)

Abstract

We examine the determinants of the within-industry decline of the labor share, using industry-level annual data for 25 OECD countries, 20 business-sector industries and covering up to 28 years. We find that total factor productivity growth—which captures (albeit imprecisely) capital-augmenting or labor-replacing technical change—and capital deepening jointly account for as much as 80 % of the within-industry contraction of the labor share. We also find that another factor explaining the aggregate decline of the labor share is the increased international competition, with higher import penetration causing a contraction of the share of labour-intensive industries in total value added. However, the fraction of the drop of the labor share explained by international competition remains limited.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Bassanini & Thomas Manfredi, 2014. "Capital’s grabbing hand? A cross-industry analysis of the decline of the labor share in OECD countries," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 4(1), pages 3-30, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eurasi:v:4:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s40821-014-0004-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s40821-014-0004-y
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    4. Lucrezia Fanti, 2018. "An AB-SFC Model of Induced Technical Change along Classical and Keynesian Lines," Working Papers 3/18, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    5. Alessandro Bellocchi & Giovanni Marin & Giuseppe Travaglini, 2021. "The Great Fall of Labor Share:Micro Determinants for EU Countries Over 2011-2019," Working Papers 2102, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2021.
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    7. Kim, David & Kim, Woo-Yung, 2018. "What Determines Regional Labor Shares? Evidence from Korea," Working Papers 2018-06, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
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    9. Stirati, Antonella & Paternesi Meloni, Walter, 2021. "Unemployment and the wage share: a long-run exploration for major mature economies," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 330-352.
    10. George Berulava, 2019. "Migration and labor supply in Georgia: an empirical study," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 9(3), pages 395-419, September.
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