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Kaldor and Piketty’s Facts: The Rise of Monopoly Power in the United States

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  • Gauti B. Eggertsson
  • Jacob A. Robbins
  • Ella Getz Wold

Abstract

The macroeconomic data of the last thirty years has overturned at least two of Kaldor’s famous stylized growth facts: constant interest rates, and a constant labor share. At the same time, the research of Piketty and others has introduced several new and surprising facts: an increase in the financial wealth-to-output ratio in the US, an increase in measured Tobin’s Q, and a divergence between the marginal and the average return on capital. In this paper, we argue that these trends can be explained by an increase in market power and pure profits in the US economy, i.e., the emergence of a non-zero-rent economy, along with forces that have led to a persistent long term decline in real interest rates. We make three parsimonious modifications to the standard neoclassical model to explain these trends. Using recent estimates of the increase in markups and the decrease in real interest rates, we show that our model can quantitatively match these new stylized macroeconomic facts.

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  • Gauti B. Eggertsson & Jacob A. Robbins & Ella Getz Wold, 2018. "Kaldor and Piketty’s Facts: The Rise of Monopoly Power in the United States," NBER Working Papers 24287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24287
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    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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