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Distributional Consequences of Capital Accumulation, Globalisation and Financialisation in the US

  • Karanassou, Marika

    ()

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Sala, Hector

    ()

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

In this paper we examine the dynamic contributions of capital accumulation, globalisation, and financialisation to the functional-personal income distribution nexus. We analyse the labour share under the prism of monopoly and frictional growth, and disclose the dramatic upward trend in inequality. On this basis, we estimate a two-equation model for the income distribution in the US over the 1960-2009 period. We show that the labour share is affected positively by capital intensity and negatively by trade, while the Gini statistic is fueled by the falling labour share and increasing financial payments. Using counterfactual simulations, a key finding is that the decrease in capital intensity in the eighties accounted for about 76% of the labour share fall, while its increase in the 2000s prevented inequality from worsening three times more than it actually did. In turn, had financialisation not increased after 2005, inequality would have decreased to its level in the early noughties. In the Great Recession years of tense socioeconomic conditions, looking at income distribution through the lens of the wage-productivity gap could enlighten economic policy.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7244.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7244
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  1. Samuel Bentolila & Gilles Saint Paul, 1999. "Explaining movements in the labor share," Economics Working Papers 374, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen P. Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2012. "Recent trends in top income shares in the USA: reconciling estimates from March CPS and IRS tax return data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 41587, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Bhaduri, Amit & Marglin, Stephen, 1990. "Unemployment and the Real Wage: The Economic Basis for Contesting Political Ideologies," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 375-93, December.
  4. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala & Pablo F. Salvador, 2008. "Capital accumulation and unemployment: new insights on the Nordic experience," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(6), pages 977-1001, November.
  5. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala & Dennis Snower, 2008. "Phillips Curves and Unemployment Dynamics: A Critique and a Holistic Perspective," Kiel Working Papers 1441, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  6. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector, 2011. "Inequality and Employment Sensitivities to the Falling Labour Share," IZA Discussion Papers 5796, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2004. "Financialisation and the slowdown of accumulation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 719-741, September.
  8. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
  9. Olivier Blanchard, 2009. "The State of Macro," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 209-228, 05.
  10. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
  11. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector, 2010. "The US inflation-unemployment trade-off revisited: New evidence for policy-making," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 758-777, November.
  12. Ozgür Orhangazi, 2008. "Financialisation and capital accumulation in the non-financial corporate sector:," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(6), pages 863-886, November.
  13. William Milberg & Deborah Winkler, 2010. "Financialisation and the dynamics of offshoring in the USA," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 275-293, March.
  14. William Milberg & Deborah Winkler, 2010. "Economic insecurity in the new wave of globalization: offshoring and the labor share under varieties of capitalism," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 285-308.
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