Working Paper: Is there a tendency for the rate of profit to fall?

The following working paper by Deepankar Basu and Panayiotis T. Manolakosis now available on our website:

Is  there a tendency for the rate of profit to fall?  Econometric evidence for the U.S. economy, 1948-2007

Abstract

The law of the tendential fall in the rate of pro t has been at the center of theoretical and empirical debates within Marxian political economy ever since the publication of Volume III of Capital. An important limitation of this literature is the absence of a comprehensive econometric analysis of the behaviour of the rate of pro t. In this paper, we attempt to ll this lacuna in two ways. First, we investigate the time series properties of the pro t rate series. The evidence suggests that the rate of pro t behaves like a random walk and exhibits “long waves” interestingly correlated with major epochs of U.S. economic history. In the second part, we test Marx’s law of the tendential fall in the rate of pro t with a novel econometric model that explicitly accounts for the counter-tendencies. We find evidence of a long-run downward trend in the general pro t rate for the US economy for the period 1948-2007.

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