The purpose of this article is to explain the determinants behind the decline of labour share in the last three to four decades in OECD countries. In our view, this decline was determined by financialisation and was deepened by the structural changes that occurred almost simultaneously in those economies. Financialisation, or finance-dominated capitalism, from the 1980s onwards, was a key element in the strategic offensive of the advanced countries' dominant classes to appropriate higher shares of national income and to restore their control over the political process, a control that had been threatened by a generalised advancement of the labour movement in the 1970s. The development of a finance-dominated capitalism was helped by the process of global-isation, which affected not only OECD countries but also many others. A new, though unstable, macroeconomic model emerged, which we will call financial capitalism. In financial capitalism, trade unions lost power vis-a-vis capital, labour flexibility increased enormously, and a structural change from manufacturing to services was accelerated in rich countries. This resulted in negative consequences for labour share and income inequality. After having provided a theoretical discussion of the determinants of the compression of the wage share, making reference to the relevant literature, we submit our hypotheses to empirical scrutiny, performing a panel data analysis on 28 OECD Countries. The results of the estimations provide support to the theoretical argument.
Pariboni, R., Tridico, P. (2019). Labour share decline, financialisation and structural change. CAMBRIDGE JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS, 43(4), 1073-1102 [10.1093/cje/bez025].