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Wage rigidity: a look inside the firm

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  • Beth Anne Wilson
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    Abstract

    This paper tests for nominal salary rigidity using panel data from two large service-sector firms. Distributions of the firms' salary changes exhibit nominal rigidity: few nominal pay cuts, a pile-up of observations at zero, and positive skewness and asymmetry. In addition, these characteristics become more pronounced in periods of low inflation. These results are much stronger than those found in the previous literature. Further analysis shows that the sizable measurement error in the PSID and the fact that establishment surveys typically follow average wages within jobs may bias the results in the previous literature toward rejecting downward nominal wage rigidity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1999-22.

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    Date of creation: 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-22

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    Keywords: Wages ; Business enterprises;

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    References

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    1. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1993. "Hierarchies and compensation: A case study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 366-378, April.
    3. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1996. "The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?," Staff Reports 9, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    4. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
    5. David E. Lebow & Raven E. Saks & Beth Anne Wilson, 1999. "Downward nominal wage rigidity: evidence from the employment cost index," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. 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.
    7. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1.
    8. Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1215-1264, September.
    9. David E. Lebow & David J. Stockton & William L. Wascher, 1995. "Inflation, nominal wage rigidity, and the efficiency of labor markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-57, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Carlsson, Mikael & Westermark, Andreas, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," Working Paper Series 2007:15, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Götte, Lorenz & Huffman, David B., 2005. "Do Emotions Improve Labor Market Outcomes?," IZA Discussion Papers 1895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Peter Thompson & Mihaela Pintea, 2007. "Sorting, Selection, and Industry Shakeouts," Working Papers 0702, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
    4. Fehr, Ernst, 2000. "The Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 2516, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Fehr, Ernst & Goette, Lorenz, 2005. "Robustness and real consequences of nominal wage rigidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 779-804, May.
    6. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "Are Real Wages Rigid Downwards?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1983, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Thomas Beissinger & Chritoph Knoppik, 2005. "Sind Nominallöhne starr? Neuere Evidenz und wirtschaftspolitische Implikationen," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(2), pages 171-188, 05.
    8. Sara Gabriela Castellanos Pascacio & Rodrigo García Verdú & David Kaplan, 2004. "Wage Rigidities in Mexico: Evidence from the Administrative Records of the Mexican Social Security Institute (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social)," Working Papers 2004-03, Banco de México.
    9. Kuroda, Sachiko & Yamamoto, Isamu, 2003. "Are Japanese Nominal Wages Downwardly Rigid? (Part II): Examinations Using a Friction Model," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 21(2), pages 31-68, August.
    10. Yi-Ping Tseng, 2001. "Individuals’ Wage Changes in Australia 1997-2000," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2001n04, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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