Newsletter-Nov-2014 2017-07-24T04:36:22+00:00

Economic Dynamics Newsletter

Volume 15, Issue 2 (November 2014)

The EconomicDynamics Newsletter is a free supplement to the Review of Economic Dynamics (RED). It is published twice a year in April and November.

In this issue

The Evolution of Factor Shares, by Loukas Karabarbounis and Brent Neiman

Loukas Karabarbounis is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research interests are at the intersection of macroeconomics, labor economics, and international macro. Brent Neiman is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research interests are at the intersection of international finance, macroeconomics, and trade. Karabarbounis’s RePEc/IDEAS profile and Neiman’s RePEc/IDEAS profile

Ricardo (1817) argued that the principal problem of Political Economy is to understand the laws governing the distribution of income between labor and capital. Kaldor (1961) characterized the apparent stability of the share of income accruing to labor as a key stylized fact. Despite some scepticism (see, for example, Solow, 1958), the constancy of the labor share has disciplined myriad models over the past half-century. The requirement that the labor share be constant in theoretical models has shaped many economists’ intuitions regarding the aggregate production function, economic growth, and inequality.

At odds with this background, the labor share of income has exhibited a pervasive global decline since the early 1980s. In this research overview, we summarize our work on the decline in the labor share. We first describe global trends in the labor share and discuss some measurement issues. Then, we summarize evidence that ties the labor share decline to the decline in the price of investment goods and contrast this with alternative explanations. Next, we present our recent work that studies the implications of joint trends in depreciation and labor shares for the structure of production, inequality, and macro dynamics. The conclusion outlines some future avenues of research.

1. Labor Share Decline: The Facts

The labor share is the fraction of gross domestic product (GDP) paid as compensation to labor for its services in the form wages, salaries in cash or in kind, and various supplements such as employer contributions for sickness, pensions, and insurance. “The Global Decline of the Labor Share” (Karabarbounis and Neiman, 2014a) provides a broad and systematic account of medium to long-term trends in the labor share of income. Few studies have documented how labor shares have evolved after the 1980s, with some notable exceptions being Blanchard (1997), Blanchard and Giavazzi (2003), and Jones (2003). Our paper is a first attempt to quantify trends in the labor share in a comprehensive sample of countries and industries in the past 35 years, offering new stylized facts for macroeconomists.

We build a new dataset from national income and product accounts for many countries and use it to document that the labor share has declined by more than 5 percentage points globally since the early 1980s. The decline in the labor share has been pervasive. It can be found in the United States and in 7 out of the 8 largest economies of the world (the exception is the United Kingdom for which our data starts in the late 1980s). The labor share has declined in all Scandinavian countries, where labor unions have been strong traditionally. The labor share decline is also observed in many emerging markets that recently opened up to trade including China, India, and Mexico.

The majority of industries also experienced declines in their labor shares. In most countries, changes in the aggregate labor share predominantly reflect changes in industry-level labor shares rather than changes in the size of industries with different labor share levels. This finding argues against otherwise plausible explanations for the decline of the labor share that operate through sectoral shifts in economic activity.

Our new cross-country dataset (which we have made publicly available) allows us to circumvent important measurement difficulties confronted by most of the labor share literature. We measure labor shares within the corporate sector, which largely excludes unincorporated enterprises and sole proprietors whose income combines payments to both labor and capital. As highlighted by Gollin (2002), this “mixed income” poses problems for the consistent measurement of the labor share across countries and over time. By contrast, international comparisons of corporate labor share measures are cleaner.

Focusing on labor share measures within the corporate sector is desirable for three additional reasons. First, the production function and optimization problem in the government sector may be quite different from that in the rest of the economy and likely varies across countries. Second, labor share measures within the corporate sector are insensitive to the measurement and economic interpretation of residential housing, a controversial topic in studies of the economy-wide labor share. Most structures in the corporate sector are offices, stores, and factories and therefore should unambiguously be treated as assets that enter the production function. Finally, the depreciation rate applied to the aggregate capital stock is sensitive to the large fluctuations in residential housing prices. As we discuss below, the dynamics of depreciation are crucial for the interpretation of trends in factor shares and capital accumulation.

2. Labor Share Decline: Explanations

The decline in the price of investment relative to the price of consumption goods accelerated globally starting around 1980. This happened roughly at the same time when the labor share started to decline. The hypothesis we put forward in Karabarbounis and Neiman (2014a) is that the decline in the labor share can be explained by the decline in the relative price of investment goods. Decreases in the relative price of investment goods, often attributed to advances in information technology and the computer age, induced firms to shift away from labor and toward capital as the cost of capital declined. If the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor in the aggregate production function exceeds one, then the shift of production toward capital is sufficiently strong to induce a decline in the labor share.

Most prior estimates used time series variation within a country in factor shares and factor prices to identify the elasticity of substitution in the aggregate production function. By contrast, our estimates of this elasticity are identified from cross-country and cross-industry variation in trends in labor shares and rental rates of capital. Therefore, these estimates are not influenced by the global component of the labor share decline, the object we intend to explain. The rental rate of capital can be influenced at high frequency by various factors such as short-run changes in interest rates, adjustment costs, or financial frictions. These factors, however, are unlikely to have a significant influence on long-run trends in the rental rate, particularly compared to the relative price of investment goods, which moves proportionately with the rental rate in the long run.

Countries and industries in which the relative price of investment goods declined the most experienced larger declines in their labor shares. This finding implies that the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor exceeds one. Given an estimated elasticity of substitution of 1.25, we conclude that roughly half of the global decline in the labor share can be attributed to the observed (more than 25 percent) global decline in the relative price of investment goods.

This explanation fits well with other major macroeconomic developments over the past decades. As Greenwood, Hercowitz, and Krusell (1997) argue, technology-driven changes in the relative price of investment goods constitute a major factor in economic growth. Krusell, Ohanian, Rios-Rull, and Violante (2000) show that the increase in capital equipment is a key force for understanding the increase in the skill premium. Shocks to the relative efficiency of investment goods (as in Greenwood, Hercowitz, and Huffman, 1988) are now considered a standard input into dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models that generate cyclical fluctuations in economic activity.

What about other factors potentially influencing the labor share? The hypothesis that trade and globalization have affected the labor share is theoretically appealing. The simplest story is that, following reductions in global trade frictions, capital-abundant countries have shifted production toward sectors that use capital more intensively in production. These countries import from labor-abundant countries that have shifted production toward sectors that use labor more intensively.

This Heckscher-Ohlin based explanation cannot be easily reconciled with the available evidence. First, labor-abundant countries such as China, India, and Mexico actually also experienced rapid declines in their labor shares, not the increases that this theory would predict. Second, this story attributes an important role for the between-industry component of the labor share decline. However, our evidence shows that the within-industry component is most important in developed economies. While there are other mechanisms through which international trade could affect the labor share (e.g. trade-induced declines in the relative price of investment goods), more evidence is needed before concluding that international trade plays an important role for the labor share decline.

What is the role of price markups and profit shares for the labor share decline? In a world with monopoly power, income is split between compensation to labor, rental payments to capital, and economic profits. Since in many countries capital shares did not display significant increases (reflecting the relative stability of investment rates), increasing profits shares are important in understanding the labor share decline. However, given that the estimated elasticity of substitution remains relatively stable when taking into account changes in markups, the decline in the relative price of investment still explains roughly half of the labor share decline.

Countries in our sample have experienced diverse wage growth and heterogeneous paths of economic development over the past decades. The estimates of the elasticity of substitution we described above are based on the first-order condition for capital, a condition that relates the labor share to markups, capital-augmenting technology, and rental rates. Therefore, the effect of the declining relative price of investment on the labor share is compatible with any given cross-country variation in levels or in growth of both wages and labor-augmenting technology, once we take into account variations in markups, capital-augmenting technology, and rental rates.

A plausible hypothesis is that countries experiencing larger declines in the relative price of investment goods also experienced larger increases in capital-augmenting technological change. An important result is that such a case would never lead one to conclude that the elasticity of substitution is below one when the true elasticity of substitution is above one. The results in Karabarbounis and Neiman (2014a) do not exclude the possibility that capital-augmenting technological progress is important for the labor share decline. On empirical grounds we find declines in the relative price of investment goods a more appealing explanation than increases in capital-augmenting technology because the former are observed whereas the latter are typically estimated as residuals from first-order conditions. Nevertheless, with an elasticity of substitution greater than one, a combination of observed declines in the relative price of investment and (unobserved) increases in capital-augmenting technology can explain the decline in the labor share.

In many developed economies both the fraction of the workforce with college education and the college wage premium have increased during the past decades. This resulted in an increase in the share of income accruing to skilled labor relative to the share of income accruing to unskilled labor. A reasonable view of the world is that changes in the skill composition of the labor force interact both with the decline in the labor share and with the decline in the relative price of investment goods. However, our estimates of the role of the decline in the relative price of investment for the decline in the labor share do not change once we incorporate heterogeneity across countries and industries in changes in the skill composition of the labor force.

3.Depreciation, Technology, and Inequality

The first paper we discussed documented a pervasive decline in the labor share since the early 1980s and argued that the decreasing relative price of investment goods played an important role for this decline. In related work, Piketty (2014) and Piketty and Zucman (2014) discussed long-term movements in capital shares and highlighted the comovement between increasing capital shares and increasing capital-output ratios. An emerging literature motivated by these facts stresses that the interpretation of these trends depends on whether one considers concepts that are inclusive or exclusive of depreciation. For example, Krusell and Smith (2014) argue that the exclusion of depreciation significantly changes Piketty’s predictions of how a growth slowdown would impact the capital-output ratio.

The analysis in Karabarbounis and Neiman (2014a) is done in terms of gross variables, whereas the analysis in Piketty (2014) is done in terms of variables measured net of depreciation. The labor share is typically measured as compensation to labor relative to gross value added (“gross labor share”). One argument in favor of using gross concepts is based on empirical grounds. Depreciation is an imputed item in the national income and product accounts, and so the principle of using more direct measurements would argue for the use of gross instead of net concepts. Since the measurement of depreciation differs across countries, the use of net concepts is even more problematic in an international context. On the other hand, depreciation represents a payment implicitly consumed by the use of fixed capital. As a result, this flow cannot be consumed by households. At least since Weitzman (1976), therefore, economists have recognized that net concepts such as the net domestic product and the net labor share may be more closely associated with welfare and inequality than their gross counterparts.

Depreciation, typically treated in macroeconomics as an uninteresting accounting concept, is a crucial input in understanding the joint dynamics of factor shares and inequality. In an important new paper, Rognlie (2014) highlights a mismatch between the behavior of labor’s share of income net of depreciation (“net labor share”) — a focus of Piketty’s theory — and estimates of the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor that typically come from studies of the gross labor share (including the estimates in Karabarbounis and Neiman, 2014a). In fact, in his review of Piketty (2014), Summers (2014) also highlights the key role of depreciation:

“Piketty argues that the economic literature supports his assumption that returns diminish slowly (in technical parlance, that the elasticity of substitution is greater than 1), and so capital’s share rises with capital accumulation. But I think he misreads the literature by conflating gross and net returns to capital. It is plausible that as the capital stock grows, the increment of output produced declines slowly, but there can be no question that depreciation increases proportionally. And it is the return net of depreciation that is relevant for capital accumulation. I know of no study suggesting that measuring output in net terms, the elasticity of substitution is greater than 1, and I know of quite a few suggesting the contrary.”

Capital Depreciation and Labor Shares Around the World: Measurement and Implications (Karabarbounis and Neiman, 2014b) documents the global patterns of depreciation and labor shares and explains the implications of these patterns for inferring the shocks that hit the economy, the structure of production, and inequality. Our main empirical finding is that both gross and net labor shares have in general declined around the world over the past four decades. Some countries, including the United States, experienced increases in the value of depreciation as a share of gross domestic product. As a result, these countries experienced smaller declines in their net labor share relative to their gross labor share. However, the average economy in the world experienced a decline of similar magnitude in both measures. Further, the cross-country pattern of declines in the net labor share closely resembles the cross-country pattern of declines in the gross labor share.

To understand the implications of these trends, we develop a simple variant of the neoclassical growth model in which the production function uses labor and two types of capital. Labor and aggregate capital combine with an elasticity of substitution greater than one. One type of capital depreciates at a low rate (for example, structures and transportation equipment) and the other type depreciates at a high rate (for example, capital related to information and communication technologies). Depreciation as a share of GDP introduces a wedge between the net and the gross labor share. For a given decline in the gross labor share, the decline in the net labor share is smaller when the increase in depreciation’s share of GDP is larger. Consistent with measurement practices in national income and product accounts, depreciation as a share of GDP fluctuates in response to shifts in the composition of capital and to changes in the aggregate nominal capital-output ratio.

In this environment, we confirm the hypothesis of Summers (2014) and reproduce the finding of Rognlie (2014) that gross and net labor shares may move in different directions in response to changes in the real interest rate. A decline in the interest rate affects the net rental rate proportionately more than the gross rental rate. The large increase in the nominal capital-output ratio increases depreciation as a share of GDP, which in turn mutes the decline of the net labor share relative to the decline of the gross labor share. For reasonable parameterizations, reductions in the real interest rate cause the net labor share to increase despite a decrease in the gross labor share.

Very few countries, however, experienced opposite movements in net and gross labor shares over the past 40 years. We demonstrate theoretically that, unlike shocks to the real interest rate, technology-driven changes in the relative price of investment goods cause gross and net labor shares to always move in the same direction. Declines in the price of capital tend to offset increases in the real capital-output ratio, which dampens the increase in depreciation’s share of GDP and allows net and gross labor shares to fall together. This dynamic results in behavior at odds with the description in Summers (2014) because declines in the relative price of investment affect both the net and the gross return to capital proportionally. Equivalently, in response to changes in the relative price of investment, the elasticities of substitution in the gross and the net production functions are on the same side of (or equal to) one. Collectively, these theoretical and empirical results can reconcile the global decline in the relative price of investment, as analyzed in Karabarbounis and Neiman (2014a), with the narrative of Piketty (2014) that rests on a high net elasticity of substitution.

A contribution of this work is to clarify that both gross and net concepts can be useful and complementary. The argument for using net domestic product and net labor shares instead of their gross counterparts is that the former are more relevant for welfare and inequality. It is useful to note that this logic most naturally applies in an economy’s steady state. It is not obvious whether gross or net concepts are most informative for thinking about welfare and inequality during the economy’s transition.

In the simple variant of the neoclassical growth model that we described above, there are two types of agents, workers and capitalists. Workers cannot save and simply consume their labor earnings in every period. The dynamics of consumption inequality between these two groups are governed by the assumption that capitalists, in contrast to workers, are forward looking and have a positive saving rate. Using simple examples, we illustrate that both the gross and the net labor shares can be jointly informative about the evolution of consumption inequality. The net labor share perfectly summarizes inequality between workers and capitalists in the steady state of the model as workers consume their wages each period and capitalists consume their capital income net of depreciation expenses. This simple relationship, however, ceases to hold along the transition. Intuitively, the net labor share only captures the net income position of workers relative to capitalists in a specific time period. Net income inequality need not translate into consumption inequality when capitalists are forward looking and can save to achieve an optimal allocation of resources across time.

4. Work in Progress and Future Plans

The decline in the labor share has generated attention in part due to its association with increasing inequality. Our view is that the labor share is a useful starting point for thinking about distributional issues, but more work is necessary in order to link factor shares to income and wealth inequality. For example, even in a very stylized model with a striking division between hand-to-mouth workers and forward-looking capitalists, Karabarbounis and Neiman (2014b) demonstrate the inadequacy of either gross or net labor share measures to fully capture inequality in a satisfactory way outside of the steady state.

A fruitful direction for future research is to develop more realistic models that help us understand the joint dynamics of inequality and factor shares. Overall income inequality depends on a host of additional factors, such as the correlation of capital income with labor income and each of the within components of labor and capital income inequality, that also change when some shock causes the labor share to fluctuate. In research in progress together with Jon Adams (a graduate student at Chicago Econ), we examine theoretically the link between factor shares and overall income inequality in a rich model with incomplete markets, worker heterogeneity along various dimensions, bequests, redistributive taxation, and production that combines skilled and unskilled labor with different capital goods.

In other research in progress together with Sara Moreira (a graduate student at Chicago Econ), we have started creating a dataset of labor shares in the United States at the industry-state level between the late 1960s and 2012. As a first step in this empirical analysis, we have focused on the measurement of the labor component of sole proprietors’ income at the industry-state level, using both aggregate and micro data. This dataset will allow researchers to better understand the patterns of labor share changes at a less aggregated level and how these patterns are related to industry and regional economic outcomes.

Finally, the decline in the labor share has been associated with significant changes in the flow of funds between households and corporations. “Declining Labor Shares and the Global Rise of Corporate Savings” (Karabarbounis and Neiman, 2012) documents a substantial change in the distribution of saving between households and corporations. Using sectoral data from more than 50 countries, we show that by 2010, corporations, as opposed to households and governments, supplied saving that financed over 60% of global investment. The corresponding number in the early 1980s was roughly 40%.

Declines in the relative price of investment are consistent both with the decline in the labor share and the global rise of corporate saving. Corporate saving increases as it is the cheapest means to finance increased desired investment. Investment here should be broadly interpreted as encompassing both tangibles and intangibles. The latter types of investment have increased dramatically over the past 30 years (Corrado, Hulten, and Sichel, 2009).


Blanchard, O. (1997): “The Medium Run,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2, 89-158.

Blanchard, O., and F. Giavazzi (2003): “Macroeconomic Effects of Regulation And Deregulation In Goods and Labor Markets,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(3), 879-907.

Corrado, C., C. Hulten, and D. Sichel (2009): “Intangible Capital and U.S. Economic Growth,” Review of Income and Wealth, 55(3), 661-85.

Gollin, D. (2002): “Getting Income Shares Right,” Journal of Political Economy, 110(2), 458-74.

Greenwood, J., Z. Hercowitz, and G. Huffman (1988): “Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle,” American Economic Review, 78(3), 402-17.

Greenwood, J., Z. Hercowitz, and P. Krusell (1997): “Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change,” American Economic Review, 87(3), 342-62.

Jones, C. (2003): “Growth, Capital Shares, and a New Perspective on Production Functions,” Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Kaldor, N. (1961): “Capital Accumulation and Economic Growth,” in F.A. Lutz and D.C. Hague, eds., The Theory of Capital, St. Martins Press, 177-222.

Karabarbounis, L., and B. Neiman (2012): “Declining Labor Shares and the Global Rise of Corporate Savings,” NBER Working Paper No. 18154.

Karabarbounis, L., and B. Neiman (2014a): “The Global Decline of the Labor Share,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(1), 61-103.

Karabarbounis, L., and B. Neiman (2014b): “Capital Depreciation and Labor Shares Around the World: Measurement and Implications,” NBER Working Paper No. 20606.

Krusell, P., L. E. Ohanian, J.-V. Rios-Rull, and G. L. Violante (2000): “Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis,” Econometrica, 68(5), 1029-53.

Krusell, P., and T. Smith (2014): “Is Piketty’s “Second Law of Capitalism” Fundamental?,” Working Paper, Yale University.

Piketty, T. (2014): Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard University Press.

Piketty, T., and G. Zucman (2014): “Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700-2010,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(3).

Ricardo, D. (1817): Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. London: John Murray.

Rognlie, M. (2014): “A Note on Piketty and Diminishing Returns to Capital,” Working Paper, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Solow, R. (1958): “A Skeptical Note on the Constancy of Relative Shares,” American Economic Review, 48(4), 618-631.

Summers, L. (2014): “The Inequality Puzzle: Piketty Book Review,” DEMOCRACY: A Journal of Ideas, Issue 32.

Weitzman, M. (1976): “On the Welfare Significance of National Product in a Dynamic Economy,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 90, 156-62.

Economic Dynamics in Discrete Time

Jianjun Miao

There was a time where teaching graduate level methods applicable in modern macroeconomic theory was a challenge for those who wanted to use a textbook. Now there is a plethora of books, each which their emphasis, but none comprehensive so that the material can be introduced and then expanded from a single book.

The newcomer, Miao’s book, is the first to offer the preliminaries, including the mathematical ones, the proofs, the applications and some review of the literature all in one book. The one limitation, as its title indicates, is that the book concentrates on discrete time. A future volume will cover continuous time, as well as topics that are best treated in continuous time.

So what does the book cover? The preliminaries cover difference equations, Markov and stationary processes. A section looks at dynamic programming and its variants, with several common applications. It goes as far as discussing partial information problems, different numerical methods, and structural estimation. The book then continues with a series of applications, such as complete and incomplete markets, search and matching, New Keynesian models, dynamic games and recursive contracts. The appendices cover all the mathematical ingredients that are required beyond a typical undergraduate curriculum. A solutions manual for some of the exercises, and Matlab and Dynare code are also available.

Economic Dynamics in Discrete Times is published by MIT Press.

Dear SED Friends:

As expected, the 25th SED meeting in Toronto last June was a success. This was made possible thanks to the lead of Marina Azzimonti and Veronica Guerrieri, and their Program Committee, in setting up a great program, with invited lectures by Nicholas Bloom, Larry Christiano and Iván Werning. The Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto was a very suitable venue for our meeting, and Matt Mitchell and Diego Restuccia deserve the credit for the smooth logistics of the meeting. Our 25th SED meeting will also be remembered for our tribute to Dale, who left us at the beginning of the year, with two special sessions and a lunch panel. You can watch the video of the panel, as well as of the plenary speakers, via our web page. To all of these, and to all participants, my sincere thanks.

As I announced at our conference dinner at the yearly board meeting, it was decided to establish the “The Friends of the Society for Economic Dynamics.” Our charter establishes that the members of SED are the same members of the board, but after 25 years of successful meetings and the establishment of our journal, the Review of Economic Dynamics, as a leading journal in the frontier of economic research, many more people (I hope you too, if you are reading this newsletter) feel ’empathy for SED’. We wanted to recognize this fact. To become a Friend of SED, as with any friendship, will be voluntary. Therefore, it will not be required to be a friend to submit to, or present a paper at, our meetings, nor will the selection be based on who is a friend and who is not. To be a Friend of SED a minimal voluntary contribution to support the Society will be requested (and of course, larger contributions will be most welcome!).

You may ask, what’s the point? It is twofold: first, to have a more explicit account of who we are beyond who is presenting in a given year at our meeting; second, to slowly increase the capacity of the Society to have a financial safeguard to make sure that, looking at the future, SED and RED will continue to provide the service that we all want to provide. Just as a logistical matter, we will start the process of ‘becoming a Friend of SED‘ with the registration of our 2015 meeting, where more information will be provided. The Friends of SED will become our reference mailing list for direct information about SED events and other news, and it is our plan to add other small fringe benefits for them (I should probably say ‘us’). In any case it is not an issue of benefits but of supporting and strengthening our Society. I hope you will understand and become a friend!

In case you are attending the ASSA meetings in Boston, there will be two SED sessions organized by Yuriy Gorodnichenko (January 3) and Benjamin Moll (January 4). I also want to thank them and Larry Christiano who has been coordinating these sessions in the last few years.

As you know, our next SED meeting will take place in Warsaw on June 25-27, 2015. Vasco Carvalho and Greg Kaplan have already set up the program committee and I am sure they will put together a first rate program of invited and contributed sessions. I can already say, on their behalf, that we will have three great plenary speakers: Richard Blundell, Charles Jones and Samuel Kortum. In fact, Richard will deliver the 1st Dale Mortensen Lecture.

Warsaw is the hometown of a great economist whose work influenced some of our work, and as part of the program we will have a special session in Honor of Leo Hurwicz: “Mechanism Design in Macroeconomics.” The local organizers — Michał Brzoza-Brzezina, Ryszard Kokoszczyński, Krzysztof Makarski, and Jan Werner — are already preparing what I think will also be a memorable meeting, organized by Narodowy Bank Polski (the central bank of Poland) and hosted by the University of Warsaw. For those of you coming, I would recommend not missing any of the events…

Warsaw will be my last meeting as president of the Society and, as it was announced in Toronto, Tim Kehoe will succeed me as president for the following three years. Warsaw will also mark the replacement of our almost life-long officers: Marina Azzimonti will replace Christian Zimmermann as secretary of SED and Erwan Quintin will replace Ellen McGrattan as treasurer. I am very grateful to all of them, but I think Warsaw will be a better place to thank them properly; the outgoing officers for the incredible work done, the incoming ones for accepting to be the new officers of the Society.

I am looking forward to seeing you in Warsaw

Ramon Marimon, President
Society for Economic Dynamics

The Review of Economic Dynamics (RED) is the official journal of the Society for Economic Dynamics. The journal publishes meritorious original contributions to dynamic economics. The scope of the journal is intended to be broad and to reflect the view of the Society for Economic Dynamics that the field of economics is unified by the scientific approach to economics. We publish contributions in any area of economics provided they meet the highest standards of scientific research. In particular, RED publishes original articles on applications of dynamic economic theory to a wide variety of problems in economics. Related measurement and empirical papers are also welcomed.

Editorial Board Composition

Since last year, there have been a couple of changes to the Editorial Board composition. Galina Vereshchagina (Arizona State) has joined us as an Associate Editor. Special thanks, on behalf of the Society, to David Backus, Urban Jermann, Tim Kehoe, and Matt Mitchell, who have resigned from their positions as Editors and Associate Editors after many years of service.

As of September 2014, the Editors of RED are: Marco Bassetto (UCL), Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde (University of Pennsylvania), Jonathan Heathcote (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis), Vincenzo Quadrini (USC), Martin Schneider (Stanford), and Gianluca Violante (NYU).

The Associate Editors are: Cristina Arellano (University of Minnesota), Ariel Burnstein (UCLA), Hector Chade (ASU), Tim Cogley (NYU), Jan Eeckhout (UCL), Gino Gancia (CREI), Fatih Guvenen (University of Minnesota), Matteo Iacoviello (Federal Reserve Board), Nir Jaimovich (Duke), Maurizio Mazzocco (UCLA), Virgiliu Midrigan (NYU), Fabrizio Perri (University of Minnesota), Diego Restuccia (University of Toronto), Richard Rogerson (Princeton), Andrea Tambalotti (New York Fed), Galina Vereshchagina (ASU), Pierre-Oliver Weil (UCLA), Steve Williamson (St. Louis Fed), and Christian Zimmermann (St. Louis Fed).

Turnaround Statistics

RED strives to deliver fast and efficient turnaround of manuscripts, without compromising the quality of the refereeing process. Besides desk rejections, virtually all submitted manuscripts receive two referee reports. In 2013, RED received 296 submissions (we had 270 submissions in 2012). As of July 2014, all of these submissions had already received at least a first decision. The mean processing time from submission to first decision was 64 days.

The table below describes the distribution of first decisions by type: desk reject, reject after review, and revise and resubmit (which includes both minor and major revisions requested).

Distribution of First Decision Times on 2013 Submissions
Number of decisions Number of desk rejects Number of rejects after review Number of R&R
Total 296 126 120 50
Within 3 months 66% 100% 43% 33%
3 to 4 months 16% 0% 28% 27%
4 to 5 months 7% 0% 12% 13%
More than 5 months 11% 0% 28% 27%
Average days since submission 64 6 100 120

Note that 82% of all submissions were dealt with within 4 months, and only 11% of all submissions took longer than 5 months.

Among all the manuscripts with a final disposition in 2013, the acceptance rate was 12%. This acceptance rate, comparable to that of other top economics journals, reflects the fact that only submissions of the highest quality are selected for publication in the Review. The continuous rise of the Impact factor for the Review (see the next section) is proof of this commitment to constantly improving our standards of publication.

Impact Factors

The table below shows two citation indexes for RED and for a comparison group of journals. The first one, reported since 2008, is the 2-Year ISI Impact Factor (one of the most widely used indicator of a journal’s quality). This index is calculated as the number of times articles published in year t-1 and t-2 in a given journal were cited by all journals during year t. The second is the IDEAS/RePEc Recursive Discounted Impact Factor which 1) weighs each citation by the Impact Factor of the citing Journal — this Impact Factor being itself computed recursively in the same fashion, and 2) considers all articles ever published in a given journal, but divides each citation by its age in years. The Discounted Recursive Impact Factors are normalized so that the average citation has a weight of 1. In other words, this index gives more weight to citations in good journals, and to recent citations.

2-Year ISI Impact Factor Recursive Discounted
Impact Factor
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 August 2014
Review of Economic Dynamics 1.764 1.602 1.358 1.259 0.975 0.954 1.512
Journal of Economic Growth 3.125 2.250 2.458 2.468 3.083 2.542 2.546
AEJ: Macroeconomics 2.887 3.191 3.800 2.205
Journal of Monetary Economics 2.065 1.649 1.892 1.654 1.755 1.429 1.725
International Economic Review 1.415 1.162 1.559 1.516 1.030 1.150 0.719
Journal of Economic Theory 0.919 1.069 1.235 1.112 1.092 1.224 0.896
Journal of Money Credit and Banking 0.954 1.104 1.093 1.150 1.194 1.422 0.711
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 1.057 0.807 0.855 1.117 1.097 0.885 0.497
Macroeconomic Dynamics 0.913 0.420 0.452 0.763 0.517 0.516 0.419

As witnessed by the table above, the Impact Factor of RED continues its steady growth. Moreover, the Recursive Discounted IF shows that articles published in RED are very well cited by articles published in the top economics journals.

Upcoming Special Issues

RED relies predominantly on regular submissions of manuscripts. Throughout our history, we have also published special issues representing the frontier of academic research on topics which are of particular interest to members of the Society. Articles in special issues are usually selected from a broad call for papers, as well as through direct solicitations. They all go through a full refereeing process. Guest Editor Mark Gertler (NYU) and our own Steve Williamson (St. Louis Fed), are currently editing a special issue on “Money, Credit, and Financial Frictions” which is scheduled to appear in the January 2015 issue of RED. In addition, Guest Editors Guido Menzio (Penn) and Randy Wright (Wisconsin) are preparing a special issue in honor of Dale Mortensen, which is slated to be published in the January 2016 issue.


Matthias Doepke, Managing Editor
Review of Economic Dynamics

Society for Economic Dynamics: 2015 Meeting Call for Papers

The next annual meeting of the Society of Economic Dynamics will take place in Warsaw, Poland, from 25-27 June 2015. We are glad to announce keynote speeches by

Richard Blundell (University College, London)
Charles Jones (University of California, Berkeley)
Samuel Kortum (Yale University)

You can now submit your paper for the conference using ConferenceMaker until February 15th, 2015. We are looking forward to many exciting submissions for the academic program!

All information on the conference can be accessed from the SED homepage.

We hope to see you next year in Poland. Best wishes,

Vasco Carvalho and Greg Kaplan
2015 SED Program Chairs