Economics Department Working Paper Series

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 353
  • Publication
    Is There a Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall? Econometric Evidence for the U.S. Economy, 1948-2007
    (2010-01-01) Basu, Deepankar; Manolakos, Panayiotis T.
    The law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit has been at the center of theoretical and empirical debates within Marxian political economy ever since the publication of Volume III of Capital. An important limitation of this literature is the absence of a comprehensive econometric analysis of the behaviour of the rate of profit. In this paper, we attempt to fill this lacuna in two ways. First, we investigate the time series properties of the profit rate series. The evidence suggests that the rate of profit behaves like a random walk and exhibits "long waves" interestingly correlated with major epochs of U.S. economic history. In the second part, we test Marx's law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit with a novel econometric model that explicitly accounts for the counter-tendencies. We find evidence of a long-run downward trend in the general profit rate for the US economy for the period 1948-2007.
  • Publication
    Employment and Distribution Effects of the Minimum Wage
    (2010-01-01) Slonimczyk, Fabian; Skott, Peter
    This paper analyzes the effects of the minimum wage on wage inequality, relative employment and over-education. Using an effciency wage model we show that over-education can be generated endogenously and that an increase in the minimum wage can raise both total and low-skill employment, and produce a fall in inequality. Evidence from the US suggests that these theoretical results are empirically relevant. The over-education rate has been increasing and our regression analysis suggests that the decrease in the minimum wage may have led to a deterioration of the employment and relative wage of low-skill workers.
  • Publication
    Cyclical Patterns of Employment, Utilization and Profitability
    (2010-01-01) Zipperer, Ben; Skott, Peter
    The interaction between income distribution, accumulation, employment and the utilization of capital is central to macroeconomic models in the `heterodox' tradition. This paper examines the stylized pattern of these variables using US data for the period after 1948. We look at the trends and cycles in individual time series and examine the bivariate cycical patterns among the variables.
  • Publication
    A Concise History of Exchange Rate Regimes in Latin America
    (2010-01-01) Frenkel, Roberto; Rapetti, Martin
    The paper analyzes exchange rate regimes implemented by the major Latin American countries since the Second World War, with special attention on the period of the second globalization process beginning in the 1970s. The analysis follows a historical narrative aiming to provide an understanding of the domestic and external circumstances in which various regimes were adopted. A simple conceptual framework is developed in order to emphasize how the exchange rate regime may affect key nominal and real variables in a small open economy. After an overview of the main trends followed by the major countries in the region over the last 60 years, the paper focuses on regimes that were implemented 1) with stabilization purposes (nominal anchors) and 2) with the aim of targeting the level of the real exchange rate. These two sections analyze in greater detail some experiences illustrating the pros and cons of both strategies. The paper closes with an assessment about exchange rate experiences in Latin America.
  • Publication
    Social Preferences and Public Economics: Mechanism design when social preferences depend on incentives
    (2008-01-01) Bowles, Samuel; Hwang, Sung-Ha
    Social preferences such as altruism, reciprocity, intrinsic motivation and a desire to uphold ethical norms are essential to good government, often facilitating socially desirable allocations that would be unattainable by incentives that appeal solely to self-interest. But experimental and other evidence indicates that conventional economic incentives and social preferences may be either complements or substitutes, explicit incentives crowding in or crowding out social preferences. We investigate the design of optimal incentives to contribute to a public good under these conditions. We identify cases in which a sophisticated planner cognizant of these non-additive effects would make either more or less use of explicit incentives, by comparison to a naive planner who assumes they are absent.