NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Did Wages Reflect Growth in Productivity?

Martin S. Feldstein

NBER Working Paper No. 13953
Issued in April 2008
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS   PR

The level of productivity doubled in the U.S. nonfarm business sector between 1970 and 2006. Wages, or more accurately total compensation per hour, increased at approximately the same annual rate during that period if nominal compensation is adjusted for inflation in the same way as the nominal output measure that is used to calculate productivity.

Total employee compensation as a share of national income was 66 percent of national income in 1970 and 64 percent in 2006. This measure of the labor compensation share has been remarkably stable since the 1970s. It rose from an average of 62 percent in the decade of the 1960s to 66 percent in the decades of the 1970s and 1980s and then declined to 65 percent in the decade of the 1990s where it has again been from 2000 until the most recent quarter.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13953

Published: Feldstein, Martin, 2008. "Did wages reflect growth in productivity?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 591-594. citation courtesy of

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