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Julia Burle and Laura Carvalho

In the Kaleckian theoretical framework, an economy's demand regime is characterized as either wage-led or profit-led depending on the relative effect of an increase in the wage share on consumption, investment, and net exports. Based on this framework, a vast empirical literature has focused on estimating demand regimes in numerous countries. Although they contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between distribution and demand in different economies and time periods, they also face various critiques on theoretical and methodological grounds. This paper aims to address one dimension of these critiques by investigating a potential omitted-variable bias in the estimated relationship between distribution and demand in the Brazilian economy between 1997 and 2014. Our results suggest that when controlling for some of the relevant factors in Brazil's inclusive growth experience of the early twenty-first century, namely wage inequality, commodity prices, and household credit, the empirical characterization of the Brazilian demand regime as profit-led loses its statistical significance. Also, the demand-regime definition was found to be most sensitive to intra-wage distribution, confirming previous findings in the Kaleckian empirical literature for the Brazilian case.

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Lance Taylor, Armon Rezai, Rishabh Kumar, Nelson Barbosa and Laura Carvalho

This paper is based on a social accounting matrix (SAM) which incorporates the size distribution of income based on data from the BEA national accounts, the widely discussed 2012 CBO distribution study, and BLS consumer surveys. Sources and uses of incomes are disaggregated by household groups including the top 1 percent. Their importance (including saving rates) differs markedly across households. The SAM reveals two transfer flows exceeding 10 percent of GDP via fiscal (broadly progressive) and financial (regressive) channels. A third major flow over time has been a ten percentage point increase in the GDP share of the top 1 percent. A simulation model is used to illustrate how ‘feasible’ modifications to tax/transfer programs and increasing low wages cannot offset the historical redistribution toward the well-to-do.

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Gilberto Tadeu Lima, Laura Carvalho and Gustavo Pereira Serra

This paper incorporates human capital accumulation through provision of universal public education by a balanced-budget government to a demand-driven analytical framework of functional distribution and growth of income. Human capital accumulation positively impacts on workers’ productivity in production and their bargaining power in wage negotiations. In the long-run equilibrium, a rise in the tax rate (which also denotes the share of output spent in human capital formation) lowers the pre- and after-tax wage share and physical capital utilization, and thus raises (lowers) the output growth rate when the latter is profit-led (wage-led). The impact of a higher tax rate on the employment rate (which also measures human capital utilization) in the long-run equilibrium is negative (ambiguous) when output growth is wage-led (profit-led). In any case, the supply of higher-skilled workers does not automatically create its own demand.