Downward nominal wage rigidity: evidence from the employment cost index
AbstractWe examine the extent of downward nominal wage rigidity using the microdata underlying the BLS employment cost index--an extensive, establishment-based dataset with detailed information on wage and benefit costs. We find stronger evidence of downward nominal wage rigidity than did previous studies using panel data on individuals. Firms appear able to circumvent part, but not all, of this rigidity by varying benefits: Total compensation displays modestly less rigidity than do wages alone. Given our estimated amount of rigidity, a simple model predicts that the disinflation over the 1980s would have raised equilibrium unemployment notably. This prediction stands in contrast to the actual behavior of unemployment over this period: The addition of a term capturing the cost of rigidity (that rises as inflation falls) has no additional explanatory power in a standard Phillips Curve equation.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1999-31.
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Charles Freedman & Tiff Macklem, 1998. "A Comment on "The Great Canadian Slump"," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 646-665, August.
- Barth, Erling, 1997. "Firm-Specific Seniority and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 495-506, July.
- Shafir, Eldar & Diamond, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-74, May.
- McLaughlin, Kenneth J., 1994. "Rigid wages?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 383-414, December.
- Pierre Fortin, 1996. "The Great Canadian Slump," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 761-87, November.
- Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
- Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1.
- Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
- 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.
- David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1995.
"Does Inflation 'Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market'?,"
735, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1997. "Does Inflation “Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market”?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 71-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Seamus Hogan, 1998.
"What Does Downward Nominal-Wage Rigidity Imply for Monetary Policy?,"
Canadian Public Policy,
University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(4), pages 513-525, December.
- Seamus Hogan, 1997. "What Does Downward Nominal-Wage Rigidity Imply for Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 97-13, Bank of Canada.
- 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.).
- Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
- Ben Craig, 1995. "Are wages inflexible?," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Apr.
- 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.
- Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
- Kimura, Takeshi & Ueda, Kazuo, 2001. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 50-67, March.
- Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1994.
"The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?,"
9418, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- 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.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral 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: (Kris Vajs).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.