Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Last Word on the Wage Curve?


Author Info

  • Peter Nijkamp

    (Dept. of Spatial Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam)

  • Jacques Poot

    (School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)


In the last decade we have seen extensive international research on the extent to which wages of individuals respond to changing local labour market conditions. For many countries and periods, an inverse relationship between wages and unemployment rates has been found. Following Blanchflower and Oswald (1990), this relationship is referred to as the wage curve. The elasticity of this wage curve has been reported to be so similar across studies, at a level of about -0.1, that Card (1995) called it an "empirical law of economics". However, there is considerable heterogeneity among wage curve studies. This paper carries out modern meta-analytic techniques on a sample of 208 elasticities derived from the literature to uncover the reasons for the differences in empirical results across studies. It is found that the wage curve is a robust empirical phenomenon, but there is also clear evidence of downward publication bias. In addition, many reported t statistics are biased upwards due to the use of aggregate unemployment rates and other labour market characteristics for groups. A maximum likelihood method and a trimming procedure are used to correct for these biases. Both methods give similar results for our sample. An unbiased estimate of the wage curve elasticity is about -0.07.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 02-029/3.

as in new window
Date of creation: 21 Mar 2002
Date of revision: 13 Mar 2003
Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20020029

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Related research

Keywords: wage curve; meta-analysis; publication bias;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.


This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20020029. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Antoine Maartens (+31 626 - 160 892)).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.