Research Topics

Publications on Distribution

There are 3 publications for Distribution.
  • Notes on the Accumulation and Utilization of Capital


    Working Paper No. 953 | April 2020
    Some Empirical Issues
    The paper makes three contributions. First, following up on Nikiforos (2016), it provides an in-depth examination of the Federal Reserve measure of capacity utilization and shows that it is closer to a cyclical indicator than a measure of long run variations of normal utilization. Other measures, such as the average workweek of capital or the national emergency utilization rate are more appropriate for examining long-run changes in utilization. Second, and related to that, it argues that a relatively stationary measure of utilization is not consistent with any theory of the determination of utilization. Third, based on data on the lifetime of fixed assets it shows that for the issues around the “utilization controversy” the long run is a period after thirty years or more. This makes it a Platonic Idea for some economic problems.

  • Notes on the Accumulation and Utilization of Capital


    Working Paper No. 952 | April 2020
    Some Theoretical Issues
    This paper discusses some issues related to the triangle between capital accumulation, distribution, and capacity utilization. First, it explains why utilization is a crucial variable for the various theories of growth and distribution—more precisely, with regards to their ability to combine an autonomous role for demand (along Keynesian lines) and an institutionally determined distribution (along classical lines). Second, it responds to some recent criticism by Girardi and Pariboni (2019). I explain that their interpretation of the model in Nikiforos (2013) is misguided, and that the results of the model can be extended to the case of a monopolist. Third, it provides some concrete examples of why demand is a determinant for the long-run rate of utilization of capital. Finally, it argues that when it comes to the normal rate of utilization, it is the expected growth rate of demand that matters, not the level of demand.

  • Demand, Distribution, Productivity, Structural Change, and (Secular?) Stagnation


    Working Paper No. 945 | January 2020
    The present paper emphasizes the role of demand, income distribution, endogenous productivity reactions, and other structural changes in the slowdown of the growth rate of output and productivity that has been observed in the United States over the last four decades. In particular, it is explained that weak net export demand, fiscal conservatism, and the increase in income inequality have put downward pressure on demand. Up until the crisis, this pressure was partially compensated for through debt-financed expenditure on behalf of the private sector, especially middle- and lower-income households. This debt overhang is now another obstacle in the way of demand recovery. In turn, as emphasized by the Kaldor-Verdoorn law and the induced technical change approach, the decrease in demand and the stagnation of wages can lead to an endogenous slowdown in productivity growth. Moreover, it is argued that the increasingly oligopolistic and financialized structure of the US economy also contributes to the slowdown. Finally, the paper argues that there is nothing secular about the current stagnation; addressing the aforementioned factors can allow for growth to resume, as has happened in the past.

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