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Can the HOS model explain changes in labor shares? A tale of trade and wage rigidities

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  • Bruno Decreuse

    () (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

  • Paul Maarek

    () (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

Abstract

This paper questions the ability of the standard HOS model to explain changes in the labor shares (LS) of income in OECD countries. We use the Davis (1998) model where there is a wage rigidity in a sub-group of countries. We show that trade openness with developing countries reduces LS in rigid-wage countries, and does not affect LS in free-wage countries. This pattern is induced by factor reallocation towards capital-intensive sectors in rigid-wage countries. Using the KLEMS dataset for 8 OECD countries over the period 1970-2005, we show that the weight of capital-intensive sectors substantially increased in Continental European countries, while it did not change or even decreased in the US and the UK. Fixed effects regressions suggest that trade intensity with China explains between 30% (IV estimates) and 60% (OLS estimates) of the observed differential labor share change between Continental Europe and Anglo-Saxon countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Decreuse & Paul Maarek, 2011. "Can the HOS model explain changes in labor shares? A tale of trade and wage rigidities," Working Papers halshs-00551345, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00551345
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00551345
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Petri Böckerman & Mika Maliranta, 2012. "Globalization, creative destruction, and labour share change: evidence on the determinants and mechanisms from longitudinal plant-level data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 259-280, April.
    2. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    elasticity of substitution; factor reallocation; Davis model; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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