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

Author

Listed:
  • Gauti Eggertsson

    (Brown University)

  • Jacob Robbins

    (Brown University)

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 macroeconomic facts.

Suggested Citation

  • Gauti Eggertsson & Jacob Robbins, 2018. "Kaldor and Piketty's Facts: the Rise of Monopoly Power in the United States," 2018 Meeting Papers 77, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed018:77
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. José Azar & Xavier Vives, 2018. "Oligopoly, Macroeconomic Performance, and Competition Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 7189, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Anthony Savagar, 2018. "Measured Productivity with Endogenous Markups and Economic Profits," Studies in Economics 1812, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    3. Akcigit, Ufuk & Ates, Sina T., 2019. "What Happened to U.S. Business Dynamism?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Ufuk Akcigit & Sina T. Ates, 2019. "Ten Facts on Declining Business Dynamism and Lessons from Endogenous Growth Theory," NBER Working Papers 25755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Guimarães, Luis & Gil, Pedro, 2019. "Explaining the labor share: automation vs labor market institutions," MPRA Paper 92062, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:nbr:nberch:14088 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Mumtaz Ahmad & John Fernald & Hashmat Khan, 2019. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production, Redux," Carleton Economic Papers 19-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    8. Vicente Salas & Lucio San Juan & Javier Vallés, 2018. "Corporate cost and profit shares in the euro area and the US: the same story?," Working Papers 1833, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    9. Loukas Karabarbounis & Brent Neiman, 2019. "Accounting for Factorless Income," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 167-228.
    10. Olmstead-Rumsey, Jane, 2019. "Market Concentration and the Productivity Slowdown," MPRA Paper 93260, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:49:y:2018:i:2018-02:p:147-250 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Yuichiro Matsumoto, 2018. "Endogenous Sunk Cost, Scale Economies, and Market Concentration," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 18-20, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    13. Emmanuel Farhi & Francois Gourio, 2018. "Accounting for Macro-Finance Trends: Market Power, Intangibles, and Risk Premia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 49(2 (Fall)), pages 147-250.
    14. repec:eee:reveco:v:59:y:2019:i:c:p:522-547 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Díez, Federico & Fan, Jiayue & Villegas-Sanchez, Carolina, 2019. "Global Declining Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 13696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Dmitry Kuvshinov & Kaspar Zimmermann, 2018. "The Big Bang: Stock Market Capitalization in the Long Run," Working Papers 0136, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    17. Kuvshinov, Dmitry & Zimmermann, Kaspar, 2018. "The Big Bang: Stock Market Capitalization in the Long Run," MPRA Paper 88581, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Kuvshinov, Dmitry & Zimmermann, Kaspar, 2018. "The big bang: Stock market capitalization in the long run," IBF Paper Series 02-18, IBF – Institut für Bank- und Finanzgeschichte / Institute for Banking and Financial History, Frankfurt am Main.
    19. Bill Martin & Centre for Business Research, 2018. "A Comment on Oulton, "The UK Productivity Puzzle: Does Arthur Lewis Hold the Key?"," Working Papers wp498, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    20. McAdam, Peter & Petroulakis, Filippos & Vansteenkiste, Isabel & Cavalleri, Maria Chiara & Eliet, Alice & Soares, Ana, 2019. "Concentration, market power and dynamism in the euro area," Working Paper Series 2253, European Central Bank.
    21. Aquilante, Tommaso & Chowla, Shiv & Dacic, Nikola & Haldane, Andrew & Masolo, Riccardo & Schneider, Patrick & Seneca, Martin & Tatomir, Srdan, 2019. "Market power and monetary policy," Bank of England working papers 798, Bank of England.

    More about this item

    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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