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Partage de la valeur ajoutée, de l’importance d’être précis

Abstract : The collapse of the share of wages in value-added in continental Europe and especially France since the early 1980s, while the United States purportedly remained stable, is the subject of many theoretical economic papers and the public debate on the advisability of re-establishing a •natural” distribution of labour and capital. At the same time, the return on capital is reported to be much lower in France. This observation would bear out the French economy’s mediocre performance compared with its American counterpart and could even demonstrate the need for a •different” policy in France. This paper uses the national accounts’ detailed sector data to study the components of this diagnosis of massive differentials between France and the United States. The labour/ capital distribution is studied at factor cost taking into account new forms of remuneration, proposing a calculation of the effect of the increase in the wage-earning class, using an alternative approach to the calculation of value-added, and concentrating on comparable industrial perimeters. These conventions produce surprisingly different quantitative findings to those obtained by users of OECD data. They suggest that the increase in mark-up in France is generally overestimated and that the steadiness of the distribution in the United States is dependent on the economic perimeter chosen. France and the United States would therefore have had three decades of similar value-added distribution levels and even growth, with a slight downturn in the share of labour. Lastly, at aggregate level and for comparable industrial perimeters, the rate of return on French fixed capital (equipment, software and structures) appears to be similar to its American equivalent from 1970 to 1995. This similarity is found again and again across the sectors for the net return on capital in the 1990s. However, this finding requires microeconomic confirmation.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 5, 2021 - 12:38:36 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 3:18:03 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-03416754, version 1
  • SCIENCESPO : 2441/1870



Xavier Timbeau. Partage de la valeur ajoutée, de l’importance d’être précis. Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, 2003, 363-635, pp.364 - 365. ⟨hal-03416754⟩



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