IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/por/cetedp/1901.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Explaining the labor share: automation vs labor market institutions

Author

Listed:
  • Luís Guimarães

    () (Queen’s University Belfast and cef.up)

  • Pedro Mazeda Gil

    () (cef.up, FEP, Universidade do Porto)

Abstract

We propose a simple model to assess the evolution of the US labor share and how automation affects employment. In our model, heterogeneous firms may choose a manual technology and hire a worker subject to matching frictions. Alternatively, they may choose an automated technology and produce using only machines (robots). Our model offers three main insights. First, automation-augmenting shocks reduce the labor share but increase employment and wages. Second, labor market institutions play an almost insignificant role in explaining the labor share. Third, the US labor share only (clearly) fell after 1987 because of a contemporaneous acceleration of automation's productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:cetedp:1901
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://cefup.fep.up.pt/uploads/WorkingPapers/wp1901.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bentolila Samuel & Saint-Paul Gilles, 2003. "Explaining Movements in the Labor Share," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-33, October.
    2. repec:eee:dyncon:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:74-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
    4. repec:aea:aejmac:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:118-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:aea:jecper:v:33:y:2019:i:2:p:3-30 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bento, Pedro, 2014. "Niche firms, mass markets, and income across countries: Accounting for the impact of entry costs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 147-158.
    7. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Long, Ngo Van & Poschke, Markus, 2018. "Capital-labor substitution, structural change and the labor income share," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 206-231.
    8. Pedro Gomes & Zoe Kuehn, 2017. "Human capital and the size distribution of firms," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 164-179, October.
    9. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Technology—Policy Interaction in Frictional Labour-Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 1089-1124.
    10. Growiec, Jakub & McAdam, Peter & Mućk, Jakub, 2018. "Endogenous labor share cycles: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 74-93.
    11. Cords, Dario & Prettner, Klaus, 2018. "Technological unemployment revisited: Automation in a search and matching framework," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 19-2018, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    12. Ch. Pissarides., 2011. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 1.
    13. Mai Chi Dao & Mitali Das & Zsoka Koczan & Weicheng Lian, 2017. "Why Is Labor Receiving a Smaller Share of Global Income? Theory and Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 17/169, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Berg, Andrew & Buffie, Edward F. & Zanna, Luis-Felipe, 2018. "Should we fear the robot revolution? (The correct answer is yes)," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 117-148.
    15. Terry Gregory & A.M. Salomons & Ulrich Zierahn, 2016. "Racing With or Against the Machine? Evidence from Europe," Working Papers 16-05, Utrecht School of Economics.
    16. Melvyn G. Coles & Ali Moghaddasi Kelishomi, 2018. "Do Job Destruction Shocks Matter in the Theory of Unemployment?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 118-136, July.
    17. Bental, Benjamin & Demougin, Dominique, 2010. "Declining labor shares and bargaining power: An institutional explanation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 443-456, March.
    18. repec:kap:jecgro:v:23:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9146-y is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Growiec, Jakub, 2013. "A microfoundation for normalized CES production functions with factor-augmenting technical change," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2336-2350.
    20. Hernando Zuleta, 2008. "Factor Saving Innovations and Factor Income Shares," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 836-851, October.
    21. Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "The lost race against the machine: Automation, education and inequality in an R&D-based growth model," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 08-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    22. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
    23. Henry S. Farber & Daniel Herbst & Ilyana Kuziemko & Suresh Naidu, 2018. "Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data," NBER Working Papers 24587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, March.
    25. repec:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:6:p:1488-1542 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Charles I. Jones, 2003. "Growth, capital shares, and a new perspective on production functions," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    27. Hugo Hopenhayn & Julian Neira & Rish Singhania, 2018. "From Population Growth to Firm Demographics: Implications for Concentration, Entrepreneurship and the Labor Share," NBER Working Papers 25382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Labor- And Capital-Augmenting Technical Change," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-37, March.
    29. 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.
    30. Pedro Gomes & Zoe Kuehn, 2017. "Human capital and the size distribution of firms," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 164-179, October.
    31. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2019. "Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
    32. Alberto Alesina & Michele Battisti & Joseph Zeira, 2018. "Technology and labor regulations: theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 41-78, March.
    33. Charles I. Jones, 2005. "The Shape of Production Functions and the Direction of Technical Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 517-549.
    34. Jakub Growiec, 2008. "A new class of production functions and an argument against purely labor‐augmenting technical change," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 4(4), pages 483-502, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Automation; Labor Share; Technology Choice; Employment; Matching Frictions.;

    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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

    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:por:cetedp:1901. 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: (Ana Bonanca). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/fepuppt.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 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.

    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.