Explaining Movements in the Labor Share
In this paper we study the evolution of the labor share in the OECD since 1970. We show it is essentially related to the capital-output ratio; that this relationship is shifted by factors like the price of imported materials or the skill mix; and that discrepancies between the marginal product of labor and the real wage (due to, e.g., product market power, union bargaining, and labor adjustment costs) cause departures from it. We provide estimates of the model with panel data on 14 industries and 14 countries for 1973-93 and use them to compute the evolution of the wage gap in Germany and the US.
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