Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Call for Papers: Labor Income Share in Asia: Conceptual Issues, Drivers, and Policy Implications


Labor Income Share in Asia: Conceptual Issues, Drivers, and Policy Implications
Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)
Tokyo, Japan
12–13 June 2018

Trends of the labor income share have direct implications for economic growth and income distribution. Research in recent years documents a global decline in the labor income share. Studies have highlighted the role of capital-augmenting technological progress behind this secular decline in the labor income share. Globalization also plays a key role. Classical trade theories suggest that changes in factor shares are driven by comparative advantage, while the new trade theories emphasize the role of firm heterogeneity in productivity. All these factors, along with labor market institutions and wage rigidity regimes, are the primary drivers of labor income share trends.

The declining labor share of income has contributed to rising income inequality in many Asian countries since the 1990s. The existing literature provides mixed evidence on the factors behind this trend and points to the need for further research on this topic. Advances in theoretical research show the relevance of multi-sectoral models in explaining the movements in the factor income shares without insisting on exact balanced growth. Difficulties in the measurement of the labor income share also pose a problem as estimates of the labor income share are often plagued by the existence of self-employment and the informal sector.

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) will organize a research workshop on labor income share in Asia on 12–13 June 2018. The primary goal is to promote policies for more equal income distribution through better understanding of the estimation of labor income share and its drivers. ADBI invites submissions of unpublished papers that focus on the following topics (manuscripts can focus on a group of countries or individual economies):

  • Measuring labor income share
    • Conceptual framework and measurement issues
    • Development of new datasets (corporate and aggregate levels)
  • Drivers of labor income share
    • Globalization and changing patterns of trade
    • Skill-biased technological change and capital deepening
    • Labor market institutions and wage bargaining models
  • Labor income share and unbalanced growth
    • Business cycles and other macroeconomic factors
    • Structural transformation using multi-sectoral analysis
  • Labor income share and personal income distribution
    • National accounts and household income
    • Personal distribution of capital income and labor income

Important dates:

  • Deadline for submission of Abstracts/Draft Papers: 30 April 2018
  • Deadline for submission of Complete Papers: 30 May 2018
  • Workshop date: 12–13 June 2018


Contributors should submit their papers to [email protected].

Please contact [email protected] or [email protected] for any inquiries.


ADBI will cover registration, flight, and hotel costs for one presenter of every accepted paper. The presenter must be a citizen of an ADB member country. Papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication as ADBI working papers, refereed journal articles, or an edited book volume.