Zakaj plače (ne) sledijo rasti produktivnosti

Spodnja slika je postala ikonična za post-1970-ta leta v ZDA: po drugi svetovni vojni so povprečne realne plače zaposlenih v proizvodnji zvesto sledile rasti produktivnosti, nakar se je sredi 1970-ih ta povezava razbila, produktivnost je nadaljevala rast po enakem trendu, plače pa so ostale zalepljene na ravni iz leta 1973. Drugače rečeno, do sredine 1970-ih let so ameriški delavci enakopravno delili koristi od naraščajočega gospodarstva, zadnja štiri desetletja vse do Baracka Obame pa so veliko večino koristi od naraščajoče produktivnosti pobrali lastniki kapitala.

Zakaj?

Odgovor je bržkone v ekonomskih in socialnih politikah, kot so neprilagajanje minimalne plače inflaciji, načrtno zmanjševanje moči sindikatov, davčne reforme v korist lastnikov kapitala in tistih z višjimi dohodki itd.

V zadnjih dneh se je odvila odlična diskusija na to temo med ameriškimi ekonomisti, ki jo lepo povzema Jared Bernstein (so-avtor Obaminega gospodarskega programa) na svojem blogu. Debata se je začela s člankom Larryja Summersa in Anne Stansbury, na katerega sta se odzvala Lawrence Mishel in Josh Bivens. Piko na i je dodal Bernstein.

Lepo v tej debati (za razliko od tiste prejšnji teden glede DSGE) je njena visoka kulturna raven. V tej debati se vsi strinjajo, da je rast plač zaostala za rastjo produktivnosti, razlika je le v fokusu na dejavnike, ki bi pospešili rast plač. Medtem ko je za za Stansbury-Summersa nekako samoumevno, da plače sledijo rasti produktivnosti, pa preostali trdijo, da to ni samoumevno, pač pa so potrebne politike, da to zagotovijo.

Spodaj je nekaj kratkih odstavkov, ki se meni zdijo ključni za razumevanje. Priporočam, da preberete tudi originalne komentarje na povezavah.

But, as I wrote in one of the links above: “Faster productivity growth is not by itself sufficient to raise the living standards of all who help to generate it, but it surely is necessary.

SS focus on the “necessary,” which is fine and important, but in doing so, they create a bit of a straw man by casting those of us who focus on the “not-sufficient” as inadequately committed to faster productivity growth. That’s inconsistent with our writings. […]

With this in mind, those who would close that gap, which include SS, MB, and JB (that’s me), would, I suspect, readily admit that we have a lot more confidence in our knowledge of gap-closing policies in the space MB reference above versus ideas to boost productivity growth. The latter, I regret to say, remains largely a mystery to economists.

So, pushing for higher minimum wages, full employment (direct job creation), progressive taxation, collective bargaining, overtime rules, gender equity, a robust safety net, more balanced trade, financial market regulation (a complement to full employment—we can’t have them blowing up the economy every cycle), and so on are gap-closing ideas that we know will help. What’s more—and this part is important given SS’s findings—these measures are not anti-growth.

The punchline is thus twofold. Of course, 1) faster productivity growth is a necessary component of faster wage growth. But so is 2) re-linking wage growth with the ongoing productivity growth we have. And we know more about how to achieve #2 through progressive policies than #1.

Vir: Jared Bernstein

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