IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/25660.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Exploitation of Labor? Classical Monopsony Power and Labor's Share

Author

Listed:
  • Wyatt J. Brooks
  • Joseph P. Kaboski
  • Yao Amber Li
  • Wei Qian

Abstract

How important is the exercise of classical monopsony power against labor for the level of wages and labor's share? We examine this in the context of China and India – two large, rapidly-growing developing economies. Using theory, we develop a novel screen to quantify how wages are affected by market power exerted in labor markets, either by a single firm or a group of cooperating firms. The theory guides the measurement of labor “markdowns”, i.e., the gap between wage and the value of the marginal product of labor, and the screen examines how they comove with local labor market share and the share of cooperating firms. Applying this test, we find that markdowns substantially lower the labor share: by up to 10 percentage points in China and 15 percentage points in India. This impact has fallen over time in both countries as firm concentration in these labor markets has decreased.

Suggested Citation

  • Wyatt J. Brooks & Joseph P. Kaboski & Yao Amber Li & Wei Qian, 2019. "Exploitation of Labor? Classical Monopsony Power and Labor's Share," NBER Working Papers 25660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25660
    Note: DEV EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w25660.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card & Ana Rute Cardoso & Joerg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2018. "Firms and Labor Market Inequality: Evidence and Some Theory," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 13-70.
    2. Oleg Itskhoki & Benjamin Moll, 2019. "Optimal Development Policies With Financial Frictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(1), pages 139-173, January.
    3. Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2012. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2437-2471, October.
    4. Jan De Loecker & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit K. Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik, 2016. "Prices, Markups, and Trade Reform," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 445-510, March.
    5. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2015. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3183-3221, October.
    6. Michael R. Ransom & Val E. Lambson, 2011. "Monopsony, Mobility, and Sex Differences in Pay: Missouri School Teachers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 454-459, May.
    7. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    8. Jose Asturias & Manuel García-Santana & Roberto Ramos, 2019. "Competition and the Welfare Gains from Transportation Infrastructure: Evidence from the Golden Quadrilateral of India," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 17(6), pages 1881-1940.
    9. David Berger & Kyle Herkenhoff & Simon Mongey, 2022. "Labor Market Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(4), pages 1147-1193, April.
    10. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    11. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2016. "Networks and Misallocation: Insurance, Migration, and the Rural-Urban Wage Gap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(1), pages 46-98, January.
    12. Ransom, Michael R, 1993. "Seniority and Monopsony in the Academic Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 221-233, March.
    13. Brandt, Loren & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Yifan, 2012. "Creative accounting or creative destruction? Firm-level productivity growth in Chinese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 339-351.
    14. Amil Petrin & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2013. "Estimating Lost Output from Allocative Inefficiency, with an Application to Chile and Firing Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 286-301, March.
    15. Orley C. Ashenfelter & Henry Farber & Michael R Ransom, 2010. "Labor Market Monopsony," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 203-210, April.
    16. Malthus, Thomas Robert, 1798. "An Essay on the Principle of Population," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number malthus1798.
    17. Braverman, Avishay & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1986. "Landlords, tenants and technological innovations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 313-332, October.
    18. Braverman, Avishay & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1982. "Sharecropping and the Interlinking of Agrarian Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 695-715, September.
    19. William M. Boal & Michael R. Ransom, 1997. "Monopsony in the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 86-112, March.
    20. Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
    21. Jan De Loecker & Jan Eeckhout & Gabriel Unger, 2020. "The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implications [“Econometric Tools for Analyzing Market Outcomes”]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(2), pages 561-644.
    22. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2013:i:1:p:61-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Ulrich Doraszelski & Jordi Jaumandreu, 2013. "R&D and Productivity: Estimating Endogenous Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1338-1383.
    24. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
    25. Hall, Robert E., 1987. "Productivity and the business cycle," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 421-444, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ariell Reshef & Gianluca Santoni, 2019. "Are Your Labor Shares Set in Beijing? The View through the Lens of Global Value Chains," Working Papers 2019-16, CEPII research center.
    2. Francesco Amodio & Nicolás de Roux, 2021. "Labor Market Power in Developing Countries: Evidence from Colombian Plants," Documentos CEDE 019267, Universidad de los Andes – Facultad de Economía – CEDE.
    3. Wyatt J. Brooks & Joseph P. Kaboski & Illenin O. Kondo & Yao Amber Li & Wei Qian, 2021. "Infrastructure Investment and Labor Monopsony Power," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 69(3), pages 470-504, September.
    4. Sabien Dobbelaere & Boris Hirsch & Steffen Mueller & Georg Neuschaeffer, 2020. "Organised Labour, Labour Market Imperfections, and Employer Wage Premia," Working Paper Series in Economics 396, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    5. Ziesemer, Thomas, 2021. "Labour-augmenting technical change data for alternative elasticities of substitution, growth, slowdown, and distribution dynamics," MERIT Working Papers 2021-003, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. David Berger & Kyle Herkenhoff & Simon Mongey, 2022. "Labor Market Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(4), pages 1147-1193, April.
    7. Mertens, Matthias, 2021. "Labour market power and between-firm wage (in)equality," IWH Discussion Papers 13/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    8. Cheung, Yan-Leung & Rau, P. Raghavendra & Stouraitis, Aris & Tan, Weiqiang, 2021. "Does the market understand the ex ante risk of expropriation by controlling shareholders?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    9. Filip Abraham & Yannick Bormans, 2020. "The Impact of Superstar Firms on the Labor Share: Evidence from Belgium," De Economist, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 369-402, September.
    10. Dev Nathan, 2021. "From Monopoly to Monopsony Capitalism," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 64(4), pages 843-866, December.
    11. Mertens, Matthias, 2022. "Micro-mechanisms behind declining labor shares: Rising market power and changing modes of production," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    12. Kęstutis Peleckis, 2021. "Application of the DEMATEL Model for Assessing IT Sector’s Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(24), pages 1-14, December.
    13. Gaelan MacKenzie, 2021. "Trade and Market Power in Product and Labor Markets," Staff Working Papers 21-17, Bank of Canada.
    14. Quint Wiersma, 2019. "The impact of WTO accession on Chinese firms' product and labor market power," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-037/V, Tinbergen Institute.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mertens, Matthias, 2020. "Labor market power and the distorting effects of international trade," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    2. Dario Tortarolo & Roman D. Zarate, 2020. "Imperfect competition in product and labour markets. A quantitative analysis," Discussion Papers 2020-05, Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP).
    3. Hsu, Wen-Tai & Lu, Yi & Wu, Guiying Laura, 2020. "Competition, markups, and gains from trade: A quantitative analysis of China between 1995 and 2004," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    4. Simone Lenzu & Francesco Manaresi, 2019. "Sources and implications of resource misallocation: new evidence from firm-level marginal products and user costs," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 485, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Zhang, Hongsong, 2019. "Non-neutral technology, firm heterogeneity, and labor demand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 145-168.
    6. Dobbelaere, Sabien & Kiyota, Kozo & Mairesse, Jacques, 2015. "Product and labor market imperfections and scale economies: Micro-evidence on France, Japan and the Netherlands," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 290-322.
    7. Wyatt J. Brooks & Joseph P. Kaboski & Illenin O. Kondo & Yao Amber Li & Wei Qian, 2021. "Infrastructure Investment and Labor Monopsony Power," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 69(3), pages 470-504, September.
    8. Gaelan MacKenzie, 2021. "Trade and Market Power in Product and Labor Markets," Staff Working Papers 21-17, Bank of Canada.
    9. Daniel Berkowitz, 2018. "Market Distortions and Labor Share Distributions: Evidence from Chinese Manufacturing Firms," Working Paper 6466, Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh.
    10. Mertens, Matthias, 2021. "Labour market power and between-firm wage (in)equality," IWH Discussion Papers 13/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    11. Lu, Yi & Sugita, Yoichi & Zhu, Lianming, 2019. "Wage and Markdowns and FDI Liberalization," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-83, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    12. Mertens, Matthias, 2022. "Micro-mechanisms behind declining labor shares: Rising market power and changing modes of production," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    13. Alan Manning, 2021. "Monopsony in Labor Markets: A Review," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 74(1), pages 3-26, January.
    14. Doraszelski, Ulrich & Jaumandreu, Jordi, 2019. "Using Cost Minimization to Estimate Markups," CEPR Discussion Papers 14114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Weinberger, Ariel, 2020. "Markups and misallocation with evidence from exchange rate shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    16. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Mandelman, Federico & Yu, Yang & Zanetti, Francesco, 2021. "The “Matthew effect” and market concentration: Search complementarities and monopsony power," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 62-90.
    17. Chen Yeh & Claudia Macaluso & Brad Hershbein, 2022. "Monopsony in the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(7), pages 2099-2138, July.
    18. Kory Kroft & Yao Luo & Magne Mogstad & Bradley Setzler, 2020. "Imperfect Competition and Rents in Labor and Product Markets: The Case of the Construction Industry," NBER Working Papers 27325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Jan de Loecker & Jan Eeckhout & Simon Mongey, 2021. "Quantifying Market Power and Business Dynamism in the Macroeconomy," Working Papers 1251, Barcelona School of Economics.
    20. David Berger & Kyle Herkenhoff & Simon Mongey, 2022. "Labor Market Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(4), pages 1147-1193, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25660. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.