Using Micro Data to Test the Divergence between Prices and Labour Values
An extremely robust finding in Marxian empirical economics is the 'Shaikh result' that estimates of labour values are closely correlated with prices. This result is established using input-output data together with a standard procedure in which variations in money wages are assumed to reflect labour quality. Two problems with this standard procedure can be identified. First, there is no translation between money units of wages and labour value units of output produced by different types of heterogeneous labour. Second, the standard procedure assumes perfectly competitive labour markets. In this paper, a new micro procedure for estimating labour values is developed in which both of these problems are addressed. To translate between money wage rates and the labour value of outputs a practical starting point for empirical analysis is suggested using some of the readily available tools of neoclassical economics. The assumption of perfect competition is accordingly relaxed by estimating a microeconometric wage equation using data from the UK Family Expenditure Survey. Conjoining this micro data with input-output data, estimates of labour values are used to test the Shaikh result, which is found not to hold in this particular exercise; with labour values diverging substantially from money prices.
Volume (Year): 16 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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