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Routinisation, globalisation, and the fall in labour’s share of income

In both developing and advanced economies, labour’s share of income has been declining since the 1970s, presenting a puzzle for classical trade theory. This column proposes that the globalisation of trade and ‘routinisation’ of tasks can reconcile declining labour shares in both advanced and developing economies. Countries with higher initial exposure to routinisation and a greater increase in participation in global value chains are shown to have experienced stronger declines in the labour income share of medium-skilled workers.
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