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Do Wages Lead Inflation? Swiss Evidence

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  • Attilio Zanetti
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    Abstract

    We construct a quarterly time series for nominal hourly wages and unit labour costs from 1975 onwards and investigate the empirical link between wages and CPI inflation in order to identify causality effects and assess the relevance of wages as an indicator for short-run price changes. We find evidence that prices systematically influence wages whereas the influence of wages on prices is much more sensitive to the choice of the sample period. In particular, the explanatory power of wages disappears in a low inflation environment. These findings move in the same direction as most evidence obtained with US data.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) in its journal Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.

    Volume (Year): 143 (2007)
    Issue (Month): I (March)
    Pages: 67-92

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    Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2007-i-4

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    Postal: c/o SNB/BNS, B├Ârsenstrasse 15, PO Box 2800, CH-8022 Z├╝rich
    Phone: +41 (0)44 631 32 34
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    Related research

    Keywords: inflation; wages; unit labor costs; Granger causality;

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    References

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    1. Jorge A. Chan-Lau & Stephen Tokarick, 1999. "Why Has Inflation in the United States Remained so Low? Reassessing the Importance of Labor Costs and the Price of Imports," IMF Working Papers 99/149, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Bardsen, Gunnar & Eitrheim, Oyvind & Jansen, Eilev S. & Nymoen, Ragnar, 2005. "The Econometrics of Macroeconomic Modelling," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199246502.
    3. Daniel Aaronson, 2001. "Price Pass-Through And The Minimum Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 158-169, February.
    4. David A. Brauer, 1997. "Do rising labor costs trigger higher inflation?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 3(Sep).
    5. Flint Brayton & John M. Roberts & John C. Williams, 1999. "What's happened to the Phillips curve?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Mehra, Yash P, 1991. "Wage Growth and the Inflation Process: An Empirical Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 931-37, September.
    7. Chow, Gregory C & Lin, An-loh, 1971. "Best Linear Unbiased Interpolation, Distribution, and Extrapolation of Time Series by Related Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 372-75, November.
    8. Kenneth M. Emery & Chih-Ping Chang, 1996. "Do wages help predict inflation?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q I, pages 2-9.
    9. Gregory D. Hess & Mark E. Schweitzer, 2000. "Does wage inflation cause price inflation?," Policy Discussion Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Apr.
    10. Lawrence F. Katz & Olivier Blanchard, 1999. "Wage Dynamics: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 69-74, May.
    11. Gordon, Robert J, 1988. "The Role of Wages in the Inflation Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 276-83, May.
    12. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen, 1986. "Unemployment in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S121-69, Supplemen.
    13. Ghali, Khalifa H, 1999. "Wage Growth and the Inflation Process: A Multivariate Cointegration Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 417-31, August.
    14. Oxley, Les & McAleer, Michael, 1993. " Econometric Issues in Macroeconomic Models with Generated Regressors," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-40.
    15. Yash P. Mehra, 1993. "Unit labor costs and the price level," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 35-52.
    16. Yash Mehra, 2000. "Wage-price dynamics : are they consistent with cost push?," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 27-43.
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