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Labour's Share and Profitability Crisis in the United States : Recent Experience and Post-war Trends


  • Henley, Andrew


As an attempt at linking together profitability, income distribution and economic crisis the work of Weisskopt (1979) represents a very important seminal contribution to the literature. In a cunningly simple model Weisskopt assesses the importance of three major Marxist explanations of economic crisis in explaining the behaviour of the rate of profit in the non-financial corporate business sector of the United States economy since World War Two. This paper extends Weisskopf's study in two ways. Firstly we reassemble his database and extend his analysis from 1975 to 1982, incorporating two new complete business cycles in order to assess whether or not his conclusions about profitability crisis in the post-war period still hold. Secondly we break down his measure of labour share into wages, salaries and supplemental benefit contributions (pension schemes, health care schemes and unemployment insurance schemes contributions) in order to assess the importance of the degree of monopoly theory in exdplaining what has been observed in terms of profit rate crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Henley, Andrew, 1985. "Labour's Share and Profitability Crisis in the United States : Recent Experience and Post-war Trends," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 269, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:269

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