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Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share

Author

Listed:
  • Autor, David

    () (MIT)

  • Dorn, David

    () (University of Zurich)

  • Katz, Lawrence

    () (Harvard University)

  • Patterson, Christina

    () (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Van Reenen, John

    () (MIT Sloan School of Management)

Abstract

The recent fall of labor's share of GDP in numerous countries is well-documented, but its causes are poorly understood. We sketch a "superstar firm" model where industries are increasingly characterized by "winner take most" competition, leading a small number of highly profitable (and low labor share) firms to command growing market share. Building on Autor et al. (2017), we evaluate and confirm two core claims of the superstar firm hypothesis: the concentration of sales among firms within industries has risen across much of the private sector; and industries with larger increases in concentration exhibit a larger decline in labor's share.

Suggested Citation

  • Autor, David & Dorn, David & Katz, Lawrence & Patterson, Christina & Van Reenen, John, 2017. "Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share," IZA Discussion Papers 10539, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10539
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lawrence Robert Z., 2015. "Recent Declines in Labor's Share in U.S. Income: A Preliminary Neoclassical Account," Working Paper Series rwp15-034, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Robert Z. Lawrence, 2015. "Recent Declines in Labor's Share in US Income: A Preliminary Neoclassical Account," Working Paper Series WP15-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    3. Yu Zheng & Raul Santaeulalia & Dongya Koh, 2015. "Labor Share Decline and the Capitalization of Intellectual Property Products," 2015 Meeting Papers 844, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Das, Tirthatanmoy & Polachek, Solomon, 2017. "Micro Foundations of Earnings Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 10922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:nbr:nberch:14012 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Stefano Schiavo & Lionel Nesta, 2017. "International Competition and Rent Sharing in French Manufacturing," DEM Working Papers 2017/07, Department of Economics and Management.
    4. Georges Vivien Houngbonon & Pascal Da Costa, 2017. "Declining Labor Share and Innovation," Working Papers hal-01653816, HAL.
    5. Bastani, Spencer & Waldenström, Daniel, 2018. "How Should Capital Be Taxed? Theory and Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 11475, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Florian Botte & Laurent Cordonnier & Thomas Dallery & Vincent Duwicquet & Jordan Melmies & Franck Van de Velde, 2017. "The cost of capital: between losses and diversion of wealth
      [Le coût du capital : entre pertes et détournement de richesses]
      ," Working Papers hal-01711157, HAL.
    7. Giuseppe Berlingieri & Patrick Blanchenay & Chiara Criscuolo, 2017. "The Great Divergence(s)," CEP Discussion Papers dp1488, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. Clemens Struck & Adnan Velic, 2017. "Automation, New Technology, and Non-Homothetic Preferences," Trinity Economics Papers tep1217, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    9. Autor, David & Dorn, David & Katz, Lawrence F. & Patterson, Christina & Van Reenen, John, 2017. "The fall of the Labor share and the rise of superstar firms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 83616, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Caballero, Ricardo & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2017. "Rents, Technical Change, and Risk Premia: Accounting for Secular Trends in Interest Rates, Returns to Capital, Earnings Yields, and Factor Shares," CEPR Discussion Papers 11833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Maier, Michael F. & Viete, Steffen & Ody, Margard, 2017. "Plattformbasierte Erwerbsarbeit: Stand der empirischen Forschung," IZA Research Reports 81, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Tommaso Ciarli & Alberto Marzucchi & Edgar Salgado & Maria Savona, 2018. "The Effect of R&D Growth on Employment and Self-Employment in Local Labour Markets," SPRU Working Paper Series 2018-08, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    13. Avi Goldfarb & Daniel Trefler, 2018. "AI and International Trade," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:614-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:fip:fedfel:00145 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2017. "Rents, Technical Change, and Risk Premia Accounting for Secular Trends in Interest Rates, Returns on Capital, Earning Yields, and Factor Shares," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 614-620, May.
    17. 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.
    18. repec:cje:issued:v:50:y:2017:i:5:p:1414-1444 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Keith Head & Barbara J. Spencer, 2017. "Oligopoly in international trade: Rise, fall and resurgence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1414-1444, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor share; sales concentration;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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