Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jason Smith — Women in the workforce and labor shar

Most stories told about this declining labor share of national income is about capital claiming it for themselves — and on the surface, that's essentially what is happening. A major surge in output in the 70s went disproportionately to capital instead of labor.

However, let's take a step back and think about the cause of that surge in output: women entering the workforce (see links here or here). If that's the cause, then the difference in the shock to NGDP and to wages could be almost entirely accounted for by the fact that women make on the order of 70% as much as men for the same job. As women entered the workforce, the same output growth would go towards more income for capital by pocketing that extra 30%. A back of the envelope calculation shows it's the correct order of magnitude (about 5 percentage points). It's not declining unions or deregulation, but rather simply adding more people that are paid less because of sexism behind the decline in labor share of national income. At least that's the hypothesis.
Information Transfer Economics
Women in the workforce and labor share
Jason Smith

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