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Higher education, employers’ monopsony power and the labour share in OECD countries

By Emilie Daudey and Bruno Decreuse

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of higher education on the labour share. It is based on the following idea: as education offers adaptability skills, it should reduce employers’ monopsony power and, therefore, increase the labour share. This idea is developed in a two-sector model with search unemployment and wage competition between employers to attract/keep workers. Using panel data for eleven OECD countries, we show that the proportion of higher educated in the population has a significant positive effect on the labour share: typically, an increase of one standard deviation in higher education induces a three point increase in the labour share. The other determinants of the labour share are compatible with the theoretical model. They include the capital-output ratio (-), minimum to median wage ratio (+), union density (+). We also find that the unemployment rate has a negative and significant impact on the labour share, which, together with the positive impact of higher education, is incompatible with a three-factor model where factors are paid their marginal products.

Topics: J60 - General, E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, I20 - General
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de:3631

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