The driving forces behind the falling labour share and persistent unemployment in japan

Pablo Agnese, Hector Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Like in most advanced countries, the labour income share in Japan has been falling since the mid-1970s. However, in contrast to other advanced economies, Japan experienced an exceptional recessive period in the 1990s and 2000s, with the rate of unemployment rising to a historical maximum of 5.5% in 2002, to persist above 4% in subsequent years. In the present paper, we examine the main causes behind the paths followed by the labour income share and the unemployment rate during the post-1997 crisis period (1997-2002) and the transition years that followed (2002-2009). We do so by estimating a multi-equation macro model that allows us to look separately at the various components of this particular labour market: wages, output, and employment. Our main finding is that the fall in the labour share can be attributed to the changes that took place within the labour relations system (the weakening of unions mainly) and that the surge in unemployment can be altogether ascribed to the distorting effects of the sizeable and increasing public debt. © 2011 The Authors. Pacific Economic Review © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-603
JournalPacific Economic Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


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