The decline in labor compensation’s share of gdp: A structural decomposition analysis for the united states, 1982 to 1997

Erik Dietzenbacher, Michael L. Lahr, Bart Los

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction A book in memory of Wassily Leontief would hardly be complete without some piece on the structure of the American economy. After all, Professor Leontief had developed his first input-output table using US data and subsequently published his first three books with the purpose of examining the structure of the American economy (Leontief, 1941, and 1951; Leontief et al., 1953). In this contribution we study the decline of labor compensation's share of US GDP in the 1980s and early 1990s. According to data on gross domestic product constructed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in the US Department of Commerce, this share steadily decreased from 59.1 to 56.0 percent between 1982 and 1997. This 3.1 percentage point drop may not seem notable. But it contrasts strongly against its steady rise of 6.6 percentage points from 1950 to 1970 (from 52.8 to 59.4 percent), when productivity rose rapidly. Moreover, it is clear that wage rates did not increase at the same pace as labor productivity during this period. Recent literature suggests many potential causes for this phenomenon. Some of the causes pertain to almost all industries of the American economy (shift effects), whereas others strongly relate to structural changes (share effects). We propose a multiplicative structural decomposition analysis (SDA) inspired by Dietzenbacher et al. (2000) to get insight into the relative empirical importance of these two categories of causes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWassily Leontief And Input-Output Economics
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages188-212
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780511493522
ISBN (Print)0521832381, 9780521832380
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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