The factor-shares cycle and its relation to the business cycle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The traditional assumption of constant factor shares (Bowley’s Law) may be misleading, for factor shares vary in both the short run and the long run. This chapter looks at short-run factor share movements, asking how they relate to the business cycle. Theoretical arguments differ about whether profit and wage shares are procyclical or counter-cyclical, and empirical evidence too yields no neat conclusions. On average, factor share movements roughly offset each other while adhering to a factor shares cycle, which has similar periodicity to the business cycle but is out of phase with it – the profit share reaches a peak before the top of the cycle and a trough before the bottom of the cycle. Recent experience in developed countries, marked by financialisation, a rising profit share and financially induced recession, has changed the factor shares cycle. Pressure on the wage share has softened profit squeezes and shifted the cycle towards an underconsumption mode with a procyclical profit share and greater risks of financial instability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBusiness Cycles in Economics
Subtitle of host publicationTypes, Challenges and Impacts on Monetary Policies
EditorsJ.C. Hsu
Place of PublicationHauppauge, NY
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63321-538-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-63321-322-7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • factor shares
  • business cycles
  • financialisation
  • underconsumption
  • financial instability

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