Rent Creation and Rent Sharing: New Measures and Impacts on Total Factor ProductivityJournal articleGilbert Cette, Jimmy Lopez and Jacques Mairesse, Economic Inquiry, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp. 1915-1938, 2019

This analysis proposes new measures of rent creation and rent sharing and assesses their impact on productivity on cross‐country‐industry panel data. We find first that: (1) anticompetitive product market regulations positively affect rent creation and (2) employment protection legislation boosts hourly wages, particularly for low‐skill workers. However, we find no significant impact of this employment legislation on rent sharing, as the hourly wage increases are offset by a negative impact on hours worked. Second, using regulation indicators as instruments, we find that rent creation and rent sharing both have a substantial negative impact on total factor productivity. (JEL E22, E24, O30, L50, O43, O47, C23)

Grands témoins (regards croisés)Journal articleDominique Libault, Jacques Barthelemy and Gilbert Cette, Regards, Volume N° 55, Issue 1, pp. 13-25, 2019


The Labor Share in the Long Term: A Decline?Journal articleGilbert Cette, Lorraine Koehl and Thomas Philippon, Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Issue 510-511-512, pp. 35-51, 2019

We challenge the accepted wisdom of a global secular decline in the labor share. A simple theoretical model is proposed to highlight the main factors of change in the labor share. We document three issues in the existing literature: (i) starting periods for the empirical analysis; (ii) accounting for self employment; and (iii) accounting for residential real estate income. An empirical analysis is carried out since the post war period for France and the United States, and since the 1990s for ten developed countries and on a six country “euro area”. How the three questions above are addressed is crucial to the diagnosis. When the biases that may arise with the three issues mentioned above are eliminated, the labor share in the market sector does not show a general downward or upward trend. The choice of period has a huge impact, as does the treatment of real estate services, whose inclusion or not in the value added can result in significantly different trends.

Employment Protection Legislation Impacts on Capital and Skills CompositionJournal articleGilbert Cette, Jimmy Lopez and Jacques Mairesse, Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Issue 503-504, pp. 109-122, 2018

The article investigates the effects of Employment Protection Legislation (EPL) on capital and skills according to the intensity of international competition. Grounded on a panel data sample for 14 OECD countries and 18 industries from 1988 to 2007, and a difference-in-difference approach, we find that strengthening EPL: (i) leads to a capital-labour substitution in favour of non ICT non R&D capital to the detriment of employment, this effect being mitigated in industries highly exposed to international competition; (ii) lowers ICT capital and, even more severely, R&D capital relatively to other capital components; and (iii) works at the relative disadvantage of low-skilled workers. Strengthening EPL can therefore be an impediment to organizational and so technological change and risk taking on globalized markets. An illustrative simulation suggests that structural reforms weakening EPL could have a significant favorable impact on firms’ ICT and R&D investment and on hiring low-skilled workers.

The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in twentieth-century productivity growthJournal articleAntonin Bergeaud, Gilbert Cette and Rémy Lecat, Cliometrica, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp. 61-97, 2018

The twentieth century was a period of exceptional growth, driven mainly by the increase in total factor productivity (TFP). Using a database of 17 OECD countries over the 1890–2013 period, this paper integrates production factor quality into the measure of TFP, namely by factoring the level of education of the working-age population into the measure of labor and the age of equipment in the measure of capital stock. We then estimate how the diffusion of technology impacts the growth of this newly measured TFP through two emblematic general purpose technologies, electricity and information and communication technologies (ICT). Using growth decomposition methodology from instrumental variable estimates, this paper finds that education levels contribute most significantly to growth, while the age of capital makes a limited, although significant, contribution. Quality-adjusted production factors explain less than half of labor productivity growth in the largest countries except for Japan, where capital deepening posted a very large contribution. As a consequence, the “one big wave” of productivity growth (Gordon in Am Econ Rev 89(2):123–128, 1999), as well as the ICT productivity wave for the countries which experienced it, remains only partially explained by quality-adjusted factors, although education and technology diffusion contribute to explain the earlier wave in the USA in the 1930s–1940s. Finally, technology diffusion, as captured through our two general purpose technologies, leaves unexplained between 0.6 and 1 percentage point of yearly growth, as well as a large proportion of the two twentieth-century technology waves. These results both support a significant lag in the diffusion of general purpose technologies and raise further questions on a wider view on growth factors, including changes in the production process, management techniques and financing practices. Measurement problems may also contribute to the unexplained share of growth.

Rent‐Sharing and Workers' Bargaining Power: An Empirical Cross‐Country/ Cross‐Industry Panel AnalysisJournal articlePhilippe Askenazy, Gilbert Cette and Paul Maarek, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Volume 120, Issue 2, pp. 563-596, 2018

In this paper, we study how rents are shared between capital and labour, using industry‐level panel data for 19 OECD countries from 1988 through to 2007. The first step is an explanation of the rent‐creation process. We provide evidence of a significant impact of regulation on value‐added prices at the industry level relative to the value‐added price for the overall economy (rent). In the second step, we dissect the value‐added sharing process. By running ordinary least‐squares and instrumental variables estimations, we obtain results that confirm the Blanchard–Giavazzi prediction: the impact of rents on the capital share depends on workers' bargaining power.

Firm-level productivity dispersion and convergenceJournal articleGilbert Cette, Simon Corde and Rémy Lecat, Economics Letters, Volume 166, Issue C, pp. 76-78, 2018

On a French firm dataset, productivity at the technological frontier has not decelerated and convergence of firms’ productivity has not slowed down. Yet, the dispersion of productivity has increased, which suggests growing difficulties in reallocating production factors between firms.

Long-Term Growth and Productivity Trends: Secular Stagnation or Temporary Slowdown?Journal articleAntonin Bergeaud, Gilbert Cette and Rémy Lecat, Revue de l'OFCE, Volume 157, Issue 3, pp. 37-54, 2018

Economic growth in advanced countries has slowed in successive stages since the 1970s and, since the crisis, has fallen to a historical low compared with the 20th century. This slowdown is mainly attributable to weaker growth in total factor productivity. In emerging countries, the situation varies: in some countries, such as South Korea and Chile, GDP per capita have been converging for several decades; in others, such as Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, relative GDP per capita has stagnated or even declined. While weak long-term growth in these latter countries can be attributed to a lack of appropriate institutions, the widespread slowdown observed in advanced countries is more difficult to interpret. One possible explanation that we explore is the decline in real interest rates since the 1990s. A circular relationship appears to exist between interest rates and productivity: productivity determines long-term returns on capital and thereby interest rates; interest rates in turn determine the minimum productivity expected from investment projects. The decline in real interest rates, which is in part attributable to demographic factors, may have led to a slowdown in productivity by making an increasing number of unproductive companies and projects profitable. We illustrate this circular relationship using a cross-country panel regression. One way of breaking out of the circular relationship would be via a new technological revolution linked to the digital economy, or, in countries where there is still room for convergence, via structural reforms to improve the diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Stagnation of productivity in France: A legacy of the crisis or a structural slowdown?Journal articleGilbert Cette, Simon Corde and Rémy Lecat, Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Issue 494, pp. 11-36, 2017

[eng] The productivity slowdown has been analysed either as an effect of the crisis, resulting from the financial and demand shocks, or as a more structural decline. In France, using macroeconomic and microeconomic data, we identify downward breaks in the trends of labour productivity and total factor productivity in the 2000s, several years before the crisis. These breaks result in historically weak rhythms of the trends. Using data on firms located in France, we highlight that, at the technological frontier, productivity has accelerated, especially over the recent period, which contradicts the hypothesis of a decline in innovation. The most productive firms in a given year do not, however, improve their relative advantage. The convergence of firms’ productivity does not seem to have slowed down in the 2000s, which does not confirm the hypothesis of a decrease in the dissemination of innovation. On the other hand, the dispersion of productivity between firms has increased, which suggests increasing difficulties in the reallocation of production factors, labour and capital, between firms.

Upstream Product Market Regulations, ICT, R&D and ProductivityJournal articleGilbert Cette, Jimmy Lopez and Jacques Mairesse, Review of Income and Wealth, Volume 63, Issue Suppl. 1, SI, pp. S68-S89, 2017

Our study investigates the importance of two main channels through which upstream anti-competitive sector regulations impact productivity growth: investments in R&D and in ICT, as opposed to alternative channels we cannot explicitly consider for lack of appropriate data such as improvements in skills, management and organization. We specify a three equations model: an extended production function relating total factor productivity to both R&D and ICT capital, and to upstream regulations, and two factor demand functions relating R&D and ICT capital to upstream regulations. We estimate these relations on an unbalanced panel of 15 OECD countries and 13 industries over the period 1987–2007. We find that the total impact of upstream regulations on total factor productivity is sizeable, a large part of which is transmitted through investments in R&D and ICT, mainly the former.