Robert Solow on rents and decoupling of productivity and wages

Wonderful overview by Branko Milanovic of the recent lecture by Robert Solow at the Graduate Center.

“…Bob Solow explored a couple of days ago another possibility. Going back to his own seminal work on the theory of growth, some 60 years ago, Solow asked the following question: why did we assume that there is perfect competition and that factors are paid their perfect competition marginal products? We knew, continued Solow, that there were monopolies; moreover, the theory of imperfect competition (Edward Chamberlin and Joan Robinson) existed since the 1930s. Solow said: “I could not find a good reason, but since theory and facts were broadly in accord, nobody bothered much with the assumptions”. That is, until recently. How can we explain, continued Solow, a sustained and significant divergence between non-farm sector productivity and real wage? Despite some quibbles about the measurement of the two, there is no doubt that  they have diverged. But that goes against everything we thought we knew! (I am paraphrasing Solow here.)…”

For the full blog post:


Globalization, Technological Change, and Inequality: Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Krugman

May 4 @ 6:30 pm8:30 pm

Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Krugman, two great economic minds, engage in an illuminating discussion moderated by Gillian Tett, US managing editor of the Financial Times. Since he late 20th century, globalization has accompanied widening inequality in both rich and poor countries, despite a decline in global inequality. In the US, globalization and technological change are often blamed for exacerbating income inequality. The panelists will shed light on these complex issues and how they relate to recent economic crises. Sachs, named one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential world leaders,” is a professor of economics at Columbia University, a senior UN advisor, and author of bestselling books, including The End of Poverty. Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, notedNew York Times columnist and author, professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and distinguished scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the Graduate Center, where he will join the economics faculty in Fall 2015. – See more at:

The event is free but you must reserve your seat by visiting here.