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A Decline in Labor's Share with Capital Accumulation and Complementary Factor Inputs: An Application of the Morishima Elasticity of Substitution

Saumik Paul

No 12219, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: The role of capital accumulation as a driver of the labor income share requires capital and labor to be substitutes, which appears paradoxical in a world predominantly characterized by complementarity between capital and labor. This paper argues that the composition of skills in the labor force and an identification of the elasticity parameters between capital and different skills of labor can reconcile the opposing views. Using a framework with capital-skill complementarity and variable substitution elasticities, the Morishima elasticity of substitution is applied to identify the elasticity parameters at different skill levels and derive the necessary condition for capital accumulation to coexist with a declining labor income share when capital and labor are complements. Empirical evidence supports this proposition.

Keywords: labor income share; production function; Morishima elasticity of substitution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E21 E22 E25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2019-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lma, nep-mac and nep-ore
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