IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecb/ecbwps/20151806.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Will the true labor share stand up?

Author

Listed:
  • McAdam, Peter
  • Muck, Jakub
  • Growiec, Jakub

Abstract

We document the consequences of ambiguity in the empirical definition of the macroeconomic labor share. Depending on its definition, the properties of short-run fluctuations, medium-run swings, and long-run stochastic trends of the labor share may vary substantially. Based on a range of historical US time series, we carry out a systematic exploration of discrepancies between the alternative labor share definitions in terms of the observed stochastic trends, shares of short-, medium- and long-run variation in total volatility of the series, degree of persistence, mean-reversion properties, and susceptibility to structural breaks. We conclude that while short-run properties of the labor shares (represented by cyclical variation below 8 years) are relatively consistent across all definitions, their medium-run swings (8-50 years) and long-run trends ( 50 years) diverge substantially. As important applications, we document the implications of our findings for growth accounting, the identification of short-run responses of the labor share to technology shocks and for estimating inflation. JEL Classification: C82, E25, E32

Suggested Citation

  • McAdam, Peter & Muck, Jakub & Growiec, Jakub, 2015. "Will the true labor share stand up?," Working Paper Series 1806, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20151806
    Note: 50336
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp1806.en.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Raurich, Xavier & Sala, Hector & Sorolla, Valeri, 2012. "Factor shares, the price markup, and the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 181-198.
    3. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
    4. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects of Regulation and Deregulation in Goods and Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 879-907.
    5. Kapetanios, George & Shin, Yongcheol & Snell, Andy, 2003. "Testing for a unit root in the nonlinear STAR framework," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 359-379, February.
    6. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    7. Sollis, Robert, 2009. "A simple unit root test against asymmetric STAR nonlinearity with an application to real exchange rates in Nordic countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 118-125, January.
    8. Cristiano Cantore & Miguel León-Ledesma & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2014. "Shocking Stuff: Technology, Hours, And Factor Substitution," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 108-128, February.
    9. Zivot, Eric & Andrews, Donald W K, 2002. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil-Price Shock, and the Unit-Root Hypothesis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-44, January.
    10. Irmen, Andreas, 2011. "Steady-state growth and the elasticity of substitution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1215-1228, August.
    11. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
    12. Diego Comin & Mark Gertler, 2006. "Medium-Term Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 523-551, June.
    13. Jalava Jukka & Pohjola Matti & Ripatti Antti & Vilmunen Jouko, 2006. "Biased Technical Change and Capital-Labour Substitution in Finland, 1902-2003," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, April.
    14. Andrew Young, 2004. "Labor's Share Fluctuations, Biased Technical Change, and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(4), pages 916-931, October.
    15. Alain de Serres & Stefano Scarpetta & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2002. "Sectoral Shifts in Europe and the United States: How They Affect Aggregate Labour Shares and the Properties of Wage Equations," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 326, OECD Publishing.
    16. Sophocles Mavroeidis & Mikkel Plagborg-Møller & James H. Stock, 2014. "Empirical Evidence on Inflation Expectations in the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 124-188, March.
    17. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    18. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
    19. Neil Shephard & Torben Andersen, 2008. "Stochastic Volatility: Origins and Overview," Economics Papers 2008-W04, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    20. Gagnon, Edith & Khan, Hashmat, 2005. "New Phillips curve under alternative production technologies for Canada, the United States, and the Euro area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1571-1602, August.
    21. 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.
    22. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2013. "Medium Run Redux," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 695-727, June.
    23. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 869-882.
    24. Mr. Sergio Rebelo & Ms. Piyabha Kongsamut & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," IMF Working Papers 2001/085, International Monetary Fund.
    25. 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.
    26. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
    27. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark & Lopez-Salido, J. David, 2001. "European inflation dynamics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1237-1270.
    28. 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.
    29. Young, Andrew T., 2013. "U.S. Elasticities Of Substitution And Factor Augmentation At The Industry Level," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 861-897, June.
    30. Fernald, John G., 2007. "Trend breaks, long-run restrictions, and contractionary technology improvements," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2467-2485, November.
    31. Bentolila Samuel & Saint-Paul Gilles, 2003. "Explaining Movements in the Labor Share," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-33, October.
    32. Arpaia, Alfonso & Pérez, Esther & Pichelmann, Karl, 2009. "Understanding labour income share dynamics in Europe," MPRA Paper 15649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    33. Charles I. Jones, 2005. "The Shape of Production Functions and the Direction of Technical Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 517-549.
    34. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
    35. Born, Benjamin & Pfeifer, Johannes, 2014. "Policy risk and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 68-85.
    36. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Labor- And Capital-Augmenting Technical Change," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-37, March.
    37. 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.
    38. Gomme, Paul & Rupert, Peter, 2007. "Theory, measurement and calibration of macroeconomic models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 460-497, March.
    39. George Kapetanios & Yongcheol Shin, 2003. "GLS Detrending-Based Unit Root Tests in Nonlinear STAR and SETAR Frameworks," Edinburgh School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 108, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    40. 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.
    41. Matthew Rognlie, 2015. "Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 50(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    42. Chirinko, Robert S., 2002. "Corporate Taxation, Capital Formation,and the Substitution Elasticity Between Labor and Capital," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(2), pages 339-355, June.
    43. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
    44. Matthew Rognlie, 2015. "Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share: Accumulation or Scarcity?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    45. 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.
    46. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
    47. Young, Andrew T., 2010. "One of the things we know that ain't so: Is US labor's share relatively stable?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 90-102, March.
    48. Christopher Tsoukis & George Kapetanios & Joseph Pearlman, 2011. "Elusive Persistence: Wage And Price Rigidities, The New Keynesian Phillips Curve And Inflation Dynamics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 737-768, September.
    49. Martins, Luis F. & Gabriel, Vasco J., 2009. "New Keynesian Phillips Curves and potential identification failures: A Generalized Empirical Likelihood analysis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 561-571, December.
    50. Miguel A. Leon-Ledesma & Mathan Satchi, 2015. "Appropriate Technology and the Labour Share," Studies in Economics 1505, School of Economics, University of Kent, revised Nov 2016.
    51. Klump, Rainer & McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2004. "Factor substitution and factor augmenting technical progress in the US: a normalized supply-side system approach," Working Paper Series 367, European Central Bank.
    52. Alwyn Young, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-680.
    53. Jakub Growiec, 2012. "Determinants of the Labor Share," Eastern European Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(5), pages 23-65, September.
    54. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, September.
    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. 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.
    2. PETER McADAM & ALPO WILLMAN, 2013. "Technology, Utilization, and Inflation: What Drives the New Keynesian Phillips Curve?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(8), pages 1547-1579, December.
    3. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2012. "The Normalized Ces Production Function: Theory And Empirics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 769-799, December.
    4. Clemens Struck & Adnan Velic, 2017. "Automation, New Technology, and Non-Homothetic Preferences," Trinity Economics Papers tep1217, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Long, Ngo Van & Poschke, Markus, 2018. "Capital-labor substitution, structural change and the labor income share," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 206-231.
    7. Growiec, Jakub & Mućk, Jakub, 2020. "Isoelastic Elasticity Of Substitution Production Functions," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(7), pages 1597-1634, October.
    8. Cantore, Cristiano & Levine, Paul & Pearlman, Joseph & Yang, Bo, 2015. "CES technology and business cycle fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 133-151.
    9. Reshef, Ariell & Santoni, Gianluca, 2023. "Are your labor shares set in Beijing? The view through the lens of global value chains," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    10. Dawson, John W. & Sturgill, Brad, 2022. "Market Institutions and Factor Shares Across Countries," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 266-289.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Charpe, Matthieu & Bridji, Slim & Mcadam, Peter, 2020. "Labor Share And Growth In The Long Run," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(7), pages 1720-1757, October.
    14. Miguel A. Leon-Ledesma & Mathan Satchi, 2015. "Appropriate Technology and the Labour Share," Studies in Economics 1505, School of Economics, University of Kent, revised Nov 2016.
    15. Jakub Growiec & Peter McAdam & Jakub Mućk, 2021. "On the Optimal Labor Income Share," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 17(70), pages 1-52, October.
    16. Miguel A León-Ledesma & Mathan Satchi, 2019. "Appropriate Technology and Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 807-835.
    17. Song, Eunbi, 2021. "What drives labor share change? Evidence from Korean industries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 370-385.
    18. Hernando Zuleta & Andrew T. Young, 2007. "Labor's shares - aggregate and industry: accounting for both in a model of unbalanced growth with induced innovation," Documentos de Trabajo 3105, Universidad del Rosario.
    19. Cristiano Cantore & Miguel León-Ledesma & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2014. "Shocking Stuff: Technology, Hours, And Factor Substitution," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 108-128, February.
    20. Dieppe, Alistair & González Pandiella, Alberto & Willman, Alpo, 2012. "The ECB's New Multi-Country Model for the euro area: NMCM — Simulated with rational expectations," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2597-2614.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor share; mean reversion; persistence; spectral analysis; structural breaks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:ecb:ecbwps:20151806. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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: Official Publications (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/emieude.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.