Labor’s Share, the Firm’s Market Power and TFP

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 22/17

Date: 2017

Author(s):

R. Dixon
G.C. Lim

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the relationship between labor’s share, the market power of firms and the elasticity of output with respect to labor input using an approach based on an unobserved components model. The approach yields time-varying estimates of the market power and the elasticity. Evidence on the evolution of the market power of firms contributes to a deeper understanding of movements in labor’s share and of the firm’s contribution to the labor wedge. The generated values of the elasticity also yield revised estimates of US TFP growth which is informative about the (non-trivial) bias inherent in traditional estimates of TFP growth which use the wage share as a proxy for the elasticity.