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Expensed and sweat equity

Author

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  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Edward C. Prescott

Abstract

Expensed investments are expenditures financed by the owners of capital that increase future profits but, by national accounting rules, are treated as an operating expense rather than as a capital expenditure. Sweat investment is financed by worker-owners who allocate time to their business and receive compensation at less than their market rate. Such investments are made with the expectation of realizing capital gains when the business goes public or is sold. But these investments are not included in GDP. Taking into account hours spent building equity while ignoring the output introduces an error in measured productivity and distorts the picture of what is happening in the economy. In this paper, we incorporate expensed and sweat equity in an otherwise standard business cycle model. We use the model to analyze productivity in the United States during the 1990s boom. We find that expensed plus sweat investment was large during this period and critical for understanding the dramatic rise in hours and the modest growth in measured productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Expensed and sweat equity," Working Papers 636, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:636
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Solow, 1994. "Book Reviews," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 167-171.
    2. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    3. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
    4. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Taxes, Regulations, and the Value of U.S. and U.K. Corporations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 767-796.
    5. Kevin J. Stiroh & Dale W. Jorgenson, 1999. "Information Technology and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 109-115, May.
    6. Ellen R. McGrattan, 2004. "Comment on Gali and Rabanal's "Technology shocks and aggregate fluctuations: how well does the RBC model fit postwar U.S. data?"," Staff Report 338, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bental, Benjamin & Demougin, Dominique, 2008. "Do factor shares reflect technology?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1329-1334, September.
    2. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Chris Telmer, 2005. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," 2005 Meeting Papers 115, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Kyoji Fukao & Tsutomu Miyagawa & Kentaro Mukai & Yukio Shinoda & Konomi Tonogi, 2008. "Intangible Investment in Japan: New Estimates and Contribution to Economic Growth," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-015, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Katya Kartashova, 2011. "The Private Equity Premium Puzzle Revisited," Staff Working Papers 11-6, Bank of Canada.

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    Keywords

    Productivity;

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