Skip to main content

The Labor Share, Capital-Labor Substitution, and Factor Augmenting Technologies

November 29, 2018
Naohisa Hirakata*1
Yasutaka Koike*2


In this paper, we analyze the dynamics of the labor share in the United States and Japan using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. For this purpose, we develop a model employing a constant elasticity of substitution (CES) production function with capital- and labor- augmenting technologies and investment specific technology. Our findings are as follows. First, comparing two different specifications of our model - one with a CES production function and one with a Cobb-Douglas production function - using marginal data densities indicates that the former provides a better fit for both the U.S. and Japanese data. Second, our estimates suggest that the elasticity of substitution is larger than one in the United States but less than one in Japan. Third, while capital-augmenting technology shocks have contributed to the decline of the labor share in the United States, they have exerted upward pressure on the labor share in Japan. The difference in the effects of capital-augmenting technology shocks on the labor share is due to the difference in the elasticity of substitution in the United States and Japan. Finally, the estimated models for the United States and Japan successfully replicate the observed relationship between the labor share and inflation.

JEL classification
E31, E32

Labor Share, Elasticity of Capital-Labor Substitution, Inflation

We thank Kosuke Aoki, Parantap Basu, Cristiano Cantore, Andrea Ferrero, Hibiki Ichiue, Debdulal Mallick, Ryo Kato, Takushi Kurozumi, Tatsuyoshi Okimoto, Toshitaka Sekine, Nao Sudo, Tomohiro Sugo, Kenichi Ueda, Kozo Ueda, Francesco Zanetti, and participants of the Summer Workshop on Economic Theory at Hokkaido University and of a workshop at the Asian Development Bank Institute for valuable comments. Any remaining errors are the sole responsibility of the authors. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Bank of Japan.

  1. *1Research and Statistics Department, Bank of Japan
    E-mail :
  2. *2Research and Statistics Department, Bank of Japan
    E-mail :


Papers in the Bank of Japan Working Paper Series are circulated in order to stimulate discussion and comments. Views expressed are those of authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank.
If you have any comment or question on the working paper series, please contact each author.
When making a copy or reproduction of the content for commercial purposes, please contact the Public Relations Department ( at the Bank in advance to request permission. When making a copy or reproduction, the source, Bank of Japan Working Paper Series, should explicitly be credited.