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Will the true labor share stand up?

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  • 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
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    Cited by:

    1. Jakub Growiec & Jakub Muck, 2015. "Isoelastic Elasticity of Substitution Production Functions," Discussion Papers 15-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    2. Hernando Zuleta, 2015. "Getting Growth Accounting Right," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 013814, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2018. "Unraveling The Skill Premium," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 33-62, January.
    4. repec:ecb:ecbwps:20141800 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. Cantore, Cristiano & Ferroni, Filippo & León-Ledesma, Miguel A., 2018. "The missing link: monetary policy and the labor share," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 90873, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Jakub Growiec & Peter McAdam & Jakub Muck, 2018. "On the Optimal Labor Income Share," Working Papers 2018-031, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis.
    8. Marcin Grela & Aleksandra Majchrowska & Tomasz Michałek & Jakub Mućk & Agnieszka Stążka-Gawrysiak & Grzegorz Tchorek & Marcin Wagner, 2017. "Is Central and Eastern Europe converging towards the EU-15?," NBP Working Papers 264, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    9. Thorsten Drautzburg & Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana, 2017. "Political Distribution Risk and Aggregate Fluctuations," PIER Working Paper Archive 17-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 25 Jul 2017.
    10. Brad Sturgill & Hernando Zuleta, 2016. "Variable Factor Shares and the Index Number Problem: A Generalization," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015038, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    11. Roberto Torrini, 2015. "Labour, Profit and Housing Rent Shares in Italian GDP: Long-Run Trends and Recent Patterns," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 275-314.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor share; mean reversion; persistence; spectral analysis; structural breaks;

    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

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