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The profit share and return on capital in Italy: a tentative interpretation

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  • Roberto Torrini

    () (BANK OF ITALY)

Abstract

Profit share in Italy has been growing between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s, remaining stable at historically high levels since than. After dropping in the first half of the 1970s, owing to an unprecedented rapid rise in wages, profit share started to recover. The rise during the 1980s involved the entire business sector and was part of this recovery process. During the 1990s profit share continued to grow on average, but with large cross-sector differences. Profit share in manufacturing, which is more exposed to international competition, declined, together with the returns on capital stock, but increased in the rest of the business sector. We show that the better performance of the non-manufacturing business sector is mainly due to the industries most affected by the large-scale privatisations and restructuring of State-owned companies that began in the first half of the 1990s. They led to a rapid growth in total factor productivity and a deceleration in wages, without a major impact on the market power of privatised companies. On the contrary, profitability in the manufacturing sector was negatively affected by a loss of competitiveness in international markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Torrini, 2005. "The profit share and return on capital in Italy: a tentative interpretation," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 551, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_551_05
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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/temi-discussione/2005/2005-0551/tema_551.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Bassanetti, Antonio & Döpke, Jörg & Torrini, Roberto & Zizza, Roberta, 2006. "Capital, labour and productivity: What role do they play in the potential GPD weakness of France, Germany and Italy?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,09, Deutsche Bundesbank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    factors shares; returns on capital; privatisations;

    JEL classification:

    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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