Research Topics

Publications on Distribution

There are 5 publications for Distribution.
  • Estimating a Time-Varying Distribution-Led Regime

    Working Paper No. 1001 | February 2022
    This paper estimates the distribution-led regime of the US economy for the period 1947–2019. We use a time varying parameter model, which allows for changes in the regime over time. To the best of our knowledge this is the first paper that has attempted to do this. This innovation is important, because there is no reason to expect that the regime of the US economy (or any economy for that matter) remains constant over time. On the contrary, there are significant reasons that point to changes in the regime. We find that the US economy became more profit-led in the first postwar decades until the 1970s and has become less profit-led since; it is slightly wage-led over the last fifteen years.

  • The Endogeneity-to-Demand of the National Emergency Utilization Rate

    Working Paper No. 989 | June 2021
    The paper provides an empirical discussion of the national emergency utilization rate (NEUR), which is based on a “national emergency” definition of potential output and is published by the US Census Bureau. Over the peak-to-peak period 1989–2019, the NEUR decreased by 14.2 percent. The paper examines the trajectory of potential determinants of capacity utilization over the same period as specified in the related theory, namely: capital intensity, relative prices of labor and capital, shift differentials, rhythmic variations in demand, industry concentration, and aggregate demand. It shows that most of them have moved in a direction that would lead to an increase in utilization. The main factor that can explain the decrease in the NEUR is aggregate demand, while the increase in industry concentration might have also played a small role.

  • 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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