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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

How do the complex institutions involved in wage setting affect wage changes? The International Wage Flexibility Project provides new microeconomic evidence on how wages change for continuing workers. We analyze individuals’ earnings in 31 different data sets from sixteen countries, from which we obtain a total of 360 wage change distributions. We find a remarkable amount of variation in wage changes across workers. Wage changes have a notably non-normal distribution; they are tightly clustered around the median and also have many extreme values. Furthermore, nearly all countries show asymmetry in their wage distributions below the median. Indeed, we find evidence of both downward nominal and real wage rigidities. We also find that the extent of both these rigidities varies substantially across countries. Our results suggest that variations in the extent of union presence in wage bargaining play a role in explaining differing degrees of rigidities among countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0620.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0620

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Keywords: Wages;

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  1. Smith, Jennifer C, 2000. "Nominal Wage Rigidity in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C176-95, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Knoppik, Christoph & Beissinger, Thomas, 2005. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe: An Analysis of European Micro Data from the ECHP 1994-2001," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 402, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
  4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-15, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Daniele Checchi & Claudio Lucifora, 2002. "Unions and labour market institutions in Europe," Departmental Working Papers 2002-16, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  7. 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.
  8. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata, 2000. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0448, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. 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.
  10. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2001. "Nominal Wage Rigidity and the Rate of Inflation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0489, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Steinar Holden, 2004. "Wage formation under low inflation," Working Paper 2004/14, Norges Bank.
  12. 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.
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