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Wage growth and productivity growth: the myth and reality of 'decoupling'

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Abstract

Employees in the UK are not being denied their fair share of economic growth, according to research by João Paulo Pessoa and John Van Reenen. Their investigation of claims that wage growth has become 'decoupled' from productivity growth finds that decoupling has been overstated and cannot be used to justify redressing the balance between wages and profits. They show that the share of UK income going to labour is basically the same now as it was 40 years ago. The real problem is inequality among employees: wage inequality has risen massively since the late 1970s. Improving skills in the bottom half of the education distribution will boost productivity and real wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Joao Paulo Pessoa & John Van Reenen, 2013. "Wage growth and productivity growth: the myth and reality of 'decoupling'," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 401, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepcnp:401
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/cp401.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Clément Bosquet & Paul Maarek & Elliot Moiteaux, 2021. "Routine-biased technological change and wages by education level: Occupational downgrading and displacement effects," Working Papers hal-03270715, HAL.
    2. Nolan, Brian & Thewissen, Stefan & Roser, Max, 2016. "GDP per capita versus median household income: What gives rise to divergence over time?," INET Oxford Working Papers 2016-03, Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.
    3. W. Robert Brazelton, 2019. "Constant Full Employment Growth: The Economic Analysis and Policies of Leon Hirsch Keyserling, Council of Economic Advisors – The Truman Era and Beyond," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 64(1), pages 82-94, March.
    4. Mathieu Dufour & Özgür Orhangazi, 2016. "Growth and distribution after the 2007–2008 US financial crisis: who shouldered the burden of the crisis?," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 4(2), pages 151-174, April.
    5. Lawrence Mishel & Kar-Fai Gee, 2012. "Why Aren’t Workers Benefiting from Labour Productivity Growth in the United States?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 23, pages 31-43, Spring.
    6. Adrjan, Pawel, 2018. "The mightier, the stingier: Firms’ market power, capital intensity, and the labor share of income," MPRA Paper 83925, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decoupling; Wages; Productivity; Compensation; Labour Income Share;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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