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Capital-Labor Substitution, Structural Change and the Labor Income Share

Author

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  • Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco

    () (McGill University)

  • Long, Ngo Van

    () (McGill University)

  • Poschke, Markus

    () (McGill University)

Abstract

Recent work has documented declines in the labor income share in the United States and beyond. This paper documents that these trends differ between manufacturing and services in the U.S. and in a broad set of other industrialized economies, and shows that a model where the degree of capital-labor substitutability differs across sectors is consistent with these trends. We calibrate the model exploiting additional information on the pace of structural change from manufacturing to services, on which the model also has predictions. We then conduct a decomposition to establish the relative importance of several potential drivers of changes in factor income shares and structural change that have been proposed in the literature. This exercise reveals that differences in productivity growth across sectors, combined with differences in substitution possibilities, have been the main driver of both changes in the labor income share and structural change.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Long, Ngo Van & Poschke, Markus, 2015. "Capital-Labor Substitution, Structural Change and the Labor Income Share," IZA Discussion Papers 8941, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8941
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    1. Is the gig economy here to stay?
      by Bruno Duarte in EUnomics on 2018-09-29 18:12:36

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    1. Lucciano Villacorta & Josep Pijoan-Mas & Manuel Garcia-Santana, 2015. "Investment Demand and Structural Change," 2015 Meeting Papers 1207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Paul, Saumik, 2019. "A Decline in Labor's Share with Capital Accumulation and Complementary Factor Inputs: An Application of the Morishima Elasticity of Substitution," IZA Discussion Papers 12219, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Davide Furceri & Prakash Loungani & Jonathan D. Ostry, 2019. "The Aggregate and Distributional Effects of Financial Globalization: Evidence from Macro and Sectoral Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 51(S1), pages 163-198, December.
    4. Vahagn Galstyan & Adnan Velic, 2017. "Taxation, Debt and Relative Prices in the Long Run: The Irish Experience," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 48(3), pages 231-251.
    5. Denis Stijepic, 2017. "An argument against Cobb-Douglas production functions (in multi-sector growth modeling)," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(2), pages 1143-1150.
    6. Matthias Kehrig & Nicolas Vincent, 2017. "Growing Productivity without Growing Wages: The Micro-Level Anatomy of the Aggregate Labor Share Decline," CESifo Working Paper Series 6454, CESifo.
    7. Istvan Konya & Judit Kreko & Gabor Oblath, 2019. "Labor shares in the EU - sectoral effects and the role of relative prices," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1902, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    8. Hippolyte d'Albis & Ekrame Boubtane & Dramane Coulibaly, 2019. "Demographic Changes and the Labor Income Share," PSE Working Papers halshs-02278765, HAL.
    9. Luís Guimarães & Pedro Mazeda Gil, 2019. "Explaining the labor share: automation vs labor market institutions," CEF.UP Working Papers 1901, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    10. Beqiraj, Elton & Fanti, Lucrezia & Zamparelli, Luca, 2018. "Structural Change and the Wage Share: a Two-Sector Kaleckian Model," MPRA Paper 89558, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Gregory Casey & Ryo Horii, 2019. "A Multi-factor Uzawa Growth Theorem and Endogenous Capital-Augmenting Technological Change," ISER Discussion Paper 1051, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    12. Paul, Saumik, 2018. "Capital Skill Substitutability and the Labor Income Share: Identification Using the Morishima Elasticity of Substitution," ADBI Working Papers 839, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    13. Pedro R. D. Bom & Aitor Goti, 2018. "Public Capital and the Labor Income Share," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-17, October.
    14. Tomasz Swiecki, 2017. "Determinants of Structural Change," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 95-131, March.
    15. Goodness C. Aye & Laurence Harris, 2019. "The effect of real exchange rate volatility on income distribution in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-29, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Daan Steenkamp, 2018. "Factor Substitution and Productivity in New Zealand," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 94(304), pages 64-79, March.
    17. Beqiraj, Elton & Fanti, Lucrezia & Zamparelli, Luca, 2019. "Sectoral composition of output and the wage share: The role of the service sector," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1-10.
    18. Nakanishi, Noritsugu & Long, Ngo Van, 2020. "A New Impetus for Endogenous Growth: R&D Offshoring via Virtual Labor Mobility," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-95, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    19. Geoff Weir, 2018. "Wage Growth Puzzles and Technology," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2018-10, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    20. Dominique Guellec, 2020. "Digital Innovation and the Distribution of Income," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Knoblach, Michael, 2019. "Skill-biased technological change, endogenous labor supply, and the skill premium," CEPIE Working Papers 03/19, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    22. Monteforte, Fabio, 2020. "Structural change, the push-pull hypothesis and the Spanish labour market," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 148-169.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor income share; capital-labor substitution; structural change;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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