IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_4600.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Capital-Labor Substitution, Structural Change and the Labor Income Share

Author

Listed:
  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado
  • Ngo Van Long
  • Markus Poschke

Abstract

Long run economic growth goes along with structural change. Recent work has identified explanatory factors on the demand side (non-homothetic preferences) and on the supply-side, in particular differential productivity growth across sectors and differences in factor proportions and capital deepening. This paper documents that there have also been differential trends in labor and capital income shares across sectors in the U.S. and in a broad set of other industrialized economies, and shows that a model where the degree of capital-labor substitutability differs across sectors is consistent with these trends. The interplay of differences in productivity growth and in the substitution elasticity across sectors drive both the evolution of sectoral factor income shares and the shape of structural change. We evaluate the empirical importance of this mechanism and the other mechanisms proposed in the literature in the context of the recent U.S. experience. We find that differences in productivity growth rates between manufacturing and services have been the most important driver of structural change. Yet, differences in substitution elasticities are key not only for understanding the evolution of sectoral and aggregate factor income shares, but also for the shape of structural change. Differences in capital intensity and non-homothetic preferences have hardly mattered for the manufacturing-services transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Ngo Van Long & Markus Poschke, 2014. "Capital-Labor Substitution, Structural Change and the Labor Income Share," CESifo Working Paper Series 4600, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4600
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4600.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Berthold Herrendorf & Christopher Herrington & Ákos Valentinyi, 2015. "Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 104-133, October.
    2. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    3. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "Structural Change in a Multisector Model of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 429-443, March.
    4. Bjarne Jensen & Mogens Larsen, 2005. "General equilibrium dynamics of multi-sector growth models," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 17-56, December.
    5. repec:adr:anecst:y:2009:i:95-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Hammour, Mohamad L., 1998. "Jobless growth: appropriability, factor substitution, and unemployment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 51-94, June.
    7. Antràs Pol, 2004. "Is the U.S. Aggregate Production Function Cobb-Douglas? New Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, April.
    8. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
    9. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 869-882.
    10. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
    11. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Capital Deepening and Nonbalanced Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 467-498, June.
    12. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Long, Ngo & Poschke, Markus, 2017. "Capital-labor substitution, structural change and growth," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(3), September.
    13. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2012. "The Rise of the Service Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2540-2569, October.
    14. David Autor & David Dorn & Lawrence F Katz & Christina Patterson & John Van Reenen, 2020. "The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms [“Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor”]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(2), pages 645-709.
    15. Miguel A. León-Ledesma & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2010. "Identifying the Elasticity of Substitution with Biased Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1330-1357, September.
    16. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    17. Berthold Herrendorf & Christopher Herrington & Ákos Valentinyi, 2015. "Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 104-133, October.
    18. Robert Z. Lawrence, 2015. "Recent Declines in Labor's Share in US Income: A Preliminary Neoclassical Account," NBER Working Papers 21296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Cantore, C. & Levine, P., 2012. "Getting normalization right: Dealing with ‘dimensional constants’ in macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 1931-1949.
    20. Miguel A. León-Ledesma & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2015. "Production Technology Estimates and Balanced Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 77(1), pages 40-65, February.
    21. Ronald W. Jones, 1965. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 557-557.
    22. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2009. "Can Traditional Theories of Structural Change Fit The Data?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 469-477, 04-05.
    23. Tomasz Swiecki, 2017. "Determinants of Structural Change," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 95-131, March.
    24. Ezra Oberfield & Devesh Raval, 2021. "Micro Data and Macro Technology," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(2), pages 703-732, March.
    25. Diamond, Peter & McFadden, Daniel & Rodriguez, Miguel, 1978. "Measurement of the Elasticity of Factor Substitution and Bias of Technical Change," Histoy of Economic Thought Chapters, in: Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel (ed.),Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications, volume 2, chapter 5, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought.
    26. Miyagiwa, Kaz & Papageorgiou, Chris, 2007. "Endogenous aggregate elasticity of substitution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 2899-2919, September.
    27. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "The U.S. Structural Transformation and Regional Convergence: A Reinterpretation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
    28. Berthold Herrendorf & Richard Rogerson & ?kos Valentinyi, 2013. "Two Perspectives on Preferences and Structural Transformation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2752-2789, December.
    29. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941, Elsevier.
    30. Buera, Francisco J. & Kaboski, Joseph P., 2012. "Scale and the origins of structural change," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 684-712.
    31. Bjarne S. Jensen & Mogens E. Larsen, 2005. "General Equilibrium Dynamics of Multi-Sector Growth Models," DEGIT Conference Papers c010_003, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    32. Temple, Jonathan, 2012. "The calibration of CES production functions," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 294-303.
    33. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
    34. repec:adr:anecst:y:2009:i:95-96:p:13 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. Sekyu Choi & José-Víctor Rios-Rull, 2009. "Understanding the Dynamics of the Labor Share: the Role of non-Competitive Factor Prices," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 95-96, pages 251-277.
    36. Michael Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Ayseful Sahin, 2013. "The Decline of the U.S. Labor Share," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(2 (Fall)), pages 1-63.
    37. repec:fth:harver:1487 is not listed on IDEAS
    38. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2007. "Factor Substitution and Factor-Augmenting Technical Progress in the United States: A Normalized Supply-Side System Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 183-192, February.
    39. Akos Valentinyi & Berthold Herrendorf, 2008. "Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sector Level," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 820-835, October.
    40. Robert S. Chirinko & Debdulal Mallick, 2017. "The Substitution Elasticity, Factor Shares, and the Low-Frequency Panel Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 225-253, October.
    41. Bjarne Jensen & Mogens Larsen, 2005. "General equilibrium dynamics of multi-sector growth models," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 86(1), pages 17-56, December.
    42. Akos Valentinyi & Berthold Herrendorf, 2008. "Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sectoral Level," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 0803, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    43. Ms. Piyabha Kongsamut & Danyang Xie & Mr. Sergio Rebelo, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," IMF Working Papers 2001/085, International Monetary Fund.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Michael Knoblach & Fabian Stöckl, 2020. "What Determines The Elasticity Of Substitution Between Capital And Labor? A Literature Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 847-875, September.
    2. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Long, Ngo & Poschke, Markus, 2017. "Capital-labor substitution, structural change and growth," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(3), September.
    3. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941, Elsevier.
    4. Clemens Struck & Adnan Velic, 2017. "Automation, New Technology, and Non-Homothetic Preferences," Trinity Economics Papers tep1217, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    5. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Raurich, Xavier, 2018. "Labor mobility, structural change and economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 292-310.
    6. Chen, Chaoran, 2020. "Capital-skill complementarity, sectoral labor productivity, and structural transformation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    7. van Neuss, Leif, 2018. "Globalization and deindustrialization in advanced countries," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 49-63.
    8. Daan Steenkamp, 2018. "Factor Substitution and Productivity in New Zealand," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 94(304), pages 64-79, March.
    9. Mariarosaria Comunale & Giulia Felice, 2019. "An empirical investigation of the relationship between trade and structural change," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 62, Bank of Lithuania.
    10. Chen, Chaoran, 2020. "Technology adoption, capital deepening, and international productivity differences," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    11. Song, Eunbi, 2021. "What drives labor share change? Evidence from Korean industries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 370-385.
    12. Growiec, Jakub & McAdam, Peter & Mućk, Jakub, 2018. "Endogenous labor share cycles: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 74-93.
    13. Zhang, Hongsong, 2019. "Non-neutral technology, firm heterogeneity, and labor demand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 145-168.
    14. Robert Z. Lawrence, 2015. "Recent Declines in Labor's Share in US Income: A Preliminary Neoclassical Account," Working Paper Series WP15-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    15. Akaev, Askar & Devezas, Tessaleno & Ichkitidze, Yuri & Sarygulov, Askar, 2021. "Forecasting the labor intensity and labor income share for G7 countries in the digital age," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    16. Berthold Herrendorf & Christopher Herrington & Ákos Valentinyi, 2015. "Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 104-133, October.
    17. Gregory Casey & Ryo Horii, 2019. "A Multi-factor Uzawa Growth Theorem and Endogenous Capital-Augmenting Technological Change," ISER Discussion Paper 1051, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    18. Zsofia Barany & Christian Siegel, 2021. "Engines of sectoral labor productivity growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 39, pages 304-343, January.
    19. Gallipoli, Giovanni & Makridis, Christos A., 2018. "Structural transformation and the rise of information technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 91-110.
    20. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2016. "Home productivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 60-76.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    structural change; labor income share; capital-labor substitution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4600. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.