Économie et Statistique n° 363-364-365 - 2003 Firms on The Global Markets Labour Market - Attractiveness - Debt - Enlargement toward East en South
The distribution of value-added and the return on capital in France and the United States: a re-evaluation
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.