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How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project

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  • William T. Dickens
  • Lorenz Goette
  • Erica L. Groshen
  • Steinar Holden
  • Julian Messina
  • Mark E. Schweitzer
  • Jarkko Turunen
  • Melanie E. Ward

Abstract

Workers' wages are not set in a spot market. Instead, the wages of most workers -- at least those who do not switch jobs -- typically change only annually and are mediated by a complex set of institutions and factors such as contracts, unions, standards of fairness, minimum wage policy, transfers of risk, and incomplete information. The goal of the International Wage Flexibility Project (IWFP) -- a consortium of over 40 researchers with access to individual workers' earnings data for 16 countries -- is to provide new microeconomic evidence on how wages change for continuing workers. We investigate the extent of wage flexibility, with a particular focus on the extent of downward wage rigidity; and explore how measures of wage flexibility are affected by the wage-setting regimes that typically vary by country.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 195-214

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:2:p:195-214

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.2.195
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  1. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-15, September.
  2. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie Ward, 2006. "The interaction of labor markets and inflation: analysis of micro data from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Lebow David E & Saks Raven E & Wilson Beth Anne, 2003. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: Evidence from the Employment Cost Index," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, October.
  4. Joseph G. Altonji & Paul J. Devereux, 1999. "The Extent and Consequences of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," NBER Working Papers 7236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2001. "Nominal Wage Rigidity and the Rate of Inflation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0489, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata, 2000. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0448, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Knoppik, Christoph & Beissinger, Thomas, 2005. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe: An Analysis of European Micro Data from the ECHP 1994-2001," IZA Discussion Papers 1492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Rodriguez-Palenzuela, Diego & Camba-Méndez, Gonzalo & García, Juan Angel, 2003. "Relevant economic issues concerning the optimal rate of inflation," Working Paper Series 0278, European Central Bank.
  9. Daniele Checchi & Claudio Lucifora, 2002. "Unions and labour market institutions in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 361-408, October.
  10. Steinar Holden, 2004. "Wage formation under low inflation," Working Paper 2004/14, Norges Bank.
  11. Smith, Jennifer C, 2000. "Nominal Wage Rigidity in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C176-95, March.
  12. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
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