Jobless Growth: Appropriability, Factor Substitution, and Unemployment
NBER Working Paper No. 6221
A central determinant of the political economy of capital-labor relations is the appropriability of specific quasi-rents. " This paper is concerned with the general-equilibrium interaction of appropriability and characteristics of technology namely, the embodiment of technology in capital and capital-labor substitutability in the technological menu. Technological embodiment means that the supply of capital is effectively much less elastic in the short than in the long run, and is therefore more exposed to appropriability; technology choice implies that an attempt at appropriating capital will induce a substitution away from labor in the long run, and constitutes a mechanism to thwart appropriation. Shifts in European labor relations in the last three decades offer a good laboratory to explore the empirical relevance of those mechanisms. The evolution of the labor share, the profit rate, the capital/output ratio, and unemployment which we examine more particularly in the case of France appears highly supportive.
Published: Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Vol. 48 (June 1998): 51-94.