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The political economy of income distribution: industry level evidence from Austria

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  • Onaran, Özlem
  • Guschanski, Alexander

Abstract

Austria has experienced one of the steepest declines in the wage share in comparison to other European countries with a fall from 66.2% in its peak in 1978 to 52.8% in 2007 before the recession, and as of 2015 with a level of 55.5% it is 10.6%-point below its peak. We find that union density has had the strongest impact in Austria, explaining 85.1 percent of the average decline of the wage share (based on our estimations for the period of during 1996-2007). We also find a sizeable negative effect of intermediate imports (international outsourcing) and some negative effect of outward FDI as well as financialisation measured by household debt and financial payments (interest and dividend payments and income as a ratio to total resources of nonfinancial corporations). The negative impact of technology (measured by ICT capital intensity as a ratio to value added in the sector) is relatively smaller and not always significant. Results indicate that migration has had a very strong positive effect on the wage share. Increasing imports of capital and consumption goods have also had sizeable positive effects. The strategy of an equality-led development requires labour market policies aiming at pre-distribution as well as redistribution. These include strengthening the bargaining power of labour, ensuring higher collective bargaining coverage, enforcing gender equality, introducing and enforcing pay ratios to moderate wage inequality, and restoring the progressivity of the tax system.

Suggested Citation

  • Onaran, Özlem & Guschanski, Alexander, 2016. "The political economy of income distribution: industry level evidence from Austria," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 15865, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:gpe:wpaper:15865
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kohler, Karsten & Guschanski, Alexander & Stockhammer, Engelbert, 2018. "The impact of financialisation on the wage share. A theoretical clarification and empirical test," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-1, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    2. repec:clr:wugarc:y:2016v:42i:4p:557 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:clr:wugarc:y:2017v:43i:3p:405 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:clr:wugarc:y:2016v:42i:04p:557 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Guschanski, Alexander & Onaran, Özlem, 2017. "The political economy of income distribution: industry level evidence from 14 OECD countries," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 17518, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Austria; wage share; income distribution; labour unions; bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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