دستمزدها و رشد بهره وری در صنعت رقابتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11317||2003||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Economic Theory, Volume 109, Issue 1, March 2003, Pages 52–69
We describe the evolution of productivity growth in a competitive industry with free entry and exit. The exogenous wage rate determines the firms’ engagement in labor productivity enhancing process innovation. There is a unique steady state of the industry dynamics, which is globally asymptotically stable. In the steady state, the number of active firms, their unit labor cost and supply depend on the growth rate but not on the level of the wage rate. In addition to providing comparative statics of the steady state, the paper characterizes the industry's adjustment path.
How do wages affect the incentives for labor productivity enhancing innovation at the firm and the industry level? We address this question by studying the evolution of productivity growth in a competitive industry in which the last period's best technology is freely available to all competitors. Firms in this industry face an exogenous wage rate, which can be thought of as being determined in the aggregate labor market of the underlying economy. This wage affects the innovative performance of the industry as firms seek to capture inframarginal rents by increasing labor productivity. The dynamics of innovation converge to a unique steady state, in which unit labor costs are constant over time. In the steady state, the number of active firms, their supply and unit labor cost turn out not to depend on the level of wages; they only depend on their rate of growth. From any initial configuration the industry characteristics monotonically approach the steady state as time evolves. Along the adjustment path, high but declining productivity growth rates are associated with entry of new firms and a decline in the size of firms. Exit induces an increase in market concentration when productivity growth is relatively low but increasing over time. Technological innovations as a means to reduce labor costs seem to have been at the heart of economic growth for many decades. The conventional macroeconomic view is that productivity growth drives wage growth. In a competitive equilibrium, the wage rate equals the marginal productivity of labor. Therefore, traditional growth theory has a causality running from productivity growth to wage growth. This view, however, presumes that productivity growth is exogenous and independent of labor market conditions. In contrast, in our analysis productivity growth is endogenously determined by innovation incentives at the firm and industry level. Firms respond to high and growing wages by productivity enhancing innovations to substitute against labor. Our model thus points to a microeconomic causality that runs in the opposite direction to the traditional macroeconomic view.2 It shows how wage growth, which may reflect technological progress at the economy-wide level, stimulates productivity enhancing innovations at the industry level. Of course, the implication of our partial equilibrium analysis for macroeconomic modelling is that both, wage growth and productivity growth, are jointly endogenously determined (see ). Our theoretical argument is in the same spirit as the empirical findings of Gordon  who argues that a substantial component of accelerations and decelerations of productivity growth in Europe, Japan and the US can be attributed to the behavior of the ratio of wages to labor productivity (see also ). A number of microeconometric studies have established a positive relationship between wages and the introduction of new technologies. The time series results of Doms et al.  suggest that plants with high wage workforces are more likely to adopt new technologies. A possible explanation for this could be some complementarity between technology and skill: Wages are positively related to workforce skills and these skills allow new technologies to be adopted at lower costs. The alternative rationalization, which we model in this paper, is that higher wages will induce firms to substitute away from labor through new technologies. Chennells and Van Reenen  conclude from their analysis of British plant data that this substitution effect may indeed be an important factor. In a dynamic factor demand model, Mohnen et al.  find that the long-run cross-price elasticity of R&D with respect to the price of labor is fairly large. Also Flaig and Stadler  conclude from their estimation of a dynamic model of innovation behavior that the wage rate seems to be a major determinant for process innovations. The partial equilibrium dynamics of a competitive industry have been studied first by Lucas and Prescott . Since then, a number of models has been developed that focus on innovation under technological uncertainty in a competitive industry. These models investigate the stochastic evolution of firms and entry and exit over the product life cycle.3 Our study focuses on the relation between wages and labor productivity. For simplicity, it disregards ex ante firm heterogeneity. Since the last period's best technology is freely available to all potential competitors, entry and exit never occur simultaneously along the adjustment path as the industry variables approach their steady-state values. Also, the basic model in 2, 3 and 4 abstracts from stochastic factors that may affect innovation. This, however, is not restrictive since, as we show in Section 5, uncertainty does not qualitatively alter our results. An interesting feature of our model is that innovation does not rely on monopoly or oligopoly rents. It thus provides a counterexample to the Schumpeterian view that such rents are necessary to support R&D investments. In our model, firms have strictly convex production technologies, which generate inframarginal rents. As in , these rents induce profit maximizing entrepreneurs to spend resources on innovation. Our model emphasizes the dynamic nature of the innovation process. Current innovations upgrade the technological knowledge that has been acquired through past innovations. They render old technologies obsolete and unprofitable. Innovators benefit from the past R&D efforts of their rivals. Also, they affect the incentives for future innovations. These features resemble several building blocks in some recent models of endogenous growth (e.g.  and ). The endogenous growth literature typically treats all industries as symmetric; it does not capture the mechanism that induces different sectors to adjust to economy wide technological progress. Our model addresses this issue by offering a partial equilibrium perspective of the mechanisms underlying the endogenous growth literature. It focuses on the determinants of technical change in an industry that may thought of as being imbedded in an economy in which overall technological progress induces wages to increase over time. In this way, our analysis may complement the aggregate models of the endogenous growth literature. It provides a feedback mechanism between aggregate factor productivity growth and innovation activities at the industry level. Indeed, as Hellwig and Irmen  have shown recently, our model can be used as a starting point for a general equilibrium model, which simultaneously determines the aggregate rate of technical change and the innovation behavior of individual firms. Our model predicts that the impact of labor market conditions on productivity may be important for understanding the innovative performance of different industries and countries. Our analysis emphasizes the role of higher wages in creating substitution away from labor that boosts productivity in a small sector embedded in an economy where the aggregate market for labor is competitive and individual firms take wages at the industry level as exogenously given. In contrast, other studies have been concerned with the impact of unions on wages and innovation. Here the conventional wisdom follows Grout's  argument that the union will appropriate some share of the rents from technological improvements. This tends to reduce the firm's incentive to innovate.4 Yet, our main insights do not necessarily rely on the competitive labor market paradigm. Our analysis shows that not the level of wages but their growth rate is important for long-run productivity growth. Therefore, the possible presence of industry wage differentials does not affect our results as long as the time path of the industry's wage follows the same trend as the competitive wage. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents a stylized model of a competitive industry. Section 3 describes its short-run equilibrium. The main results are contained in Section 4, which studies the industry's long-run behavior. Section 5 briefly discusses the role of uncertainty in the innovation process. The final section offers concluding remarks. The proofs of the formal results in 3 and 4 are relegated to the appendix.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Technical progress and a substantial increase in real wages are main attributes of the growth process in the advanced industrial nations. Our analysis presents a cost-push argument of productivity growth. The basic idea is that profit seeking, competitive firms adjust their innovative activity to increasing labor costs. Higher labor costs create stronger incentives for process innovations that raise the productivity of labor. The more interesting issue, however, is the dynamic interaction between innovation and productivity. As current innovations aim at reducing the firms’ labor cost, they also affect their future incentives for inventive activities. Our analysis shows that long-run productivity growth at the industry level is driven by the growth rate of wages. This rate determines the number of active firms, their labor costs per unit of output, the size of firms and the industry's output in the long-run. While these variables are independent of the level of the wage rate, the latter determines the level of labor productivity and employment within the industry. These results are derived in a basic model with a deterministic innovation process. Yet, it is shown that this model can easily be extended and that uncertainty does not qualitatively change the results. The industry's adjustment path exhibits either entry or exit of firms. In contrast with a number of recent studies on industry dynamics, we abstract from stochastic factors that induce firm heterogeneity. Yet, this abstraction is mainly motivated by simplicity. In principle, our model could be enriched by firm-specific technological shocks so that entry and exit occur simultaneously. Another interesting extension of our model is the consideration of imperfect competition. A Cournot or Bertrand framework could address the question of how strategic interactions between the firms affect productivity growth in the short-run and in the long-run. Stimulated by the work of Schumpeter , a large part of the literature on R&D relates the pace of innovative activity to market structure. An imperfect competition version of our model could combine this approach with our cost-push argument. Also, it would allow studying the impact of unionization on innovation. Rent sharing is likely to depress the short-run incentives for innovation. Yet, our results lead to the conjecture that unionization will not influence long-run productivity growth, unless wage bargaining affects not only the level but also the growth rate of industry wages.