Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Identifying inflation's grease and sand effects in the labor market

Contents:

Author Info

  • Erica L. Groshen
  • Mark E. Schweitzer

Abstract

Inflation has been accused of causing distortionary prices and wage fluctuations (sand) as well as lauded for facilitating adjustments to shocks when wages are rigid downwards (grease). This paper investigates whether these two effects can be distinguished from each other in a labor market by the following identification strategy: inflation-induced deviations among employer's mean wage-changes represent unintended intramarket distortions (sand), while inflation-induced, inter-occupational wage-changes reflect intended alignments with intermarket forces (grease). ; Using a unique 40-year panel of wage changes made by large mid-western employers, we find a wide variety of evidence to support the identification strategy. We also find some indications that occupational wages in large firms gained flexibility in the past four years. These results strongly support other findings that grease and sand effects exist, but also suggest that they offset each other in a welfare sense and in unemployment effects. Thus, at levels up to five percent, the net impact of inflation is beneficial but statistically indistinguishable from zero. It turns detrimental after that. When positive, net benefits never exceed a tenth of gross benefits.

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: http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr31.html
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr31.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 31.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:31

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 33 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10045-0001
Email:
Web page: http://www.newyorkfed.org/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.ny.frb.org/rmaghome/staff_rp/

Related research

Keywords: Labor market ; Inflation (Finance) ; Wages;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Vining, Daniel R, Jr & Elwertowski, Thomas C, 1976. "The Relationship between Relative Prices and the General Price Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 699-708, September.
  2. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "The Behavior of Prices and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Price Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 349-89, April.
  3. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-72, June.
  4. Allan Drazen & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1986. "Inflation and Wage Dispersion," NBER Working Papers 1811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bryan, Michael F & Gavin, William T, 1986. "Models of Inflation Expectations Formation: A Comparison of Household and Economist Forecasts: A Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(4), pages 539-44, November.
  6. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  7. Levine, David I, 1993. "Fairness, Markets, and Ability to Pay: Evidence from Compensation Executives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1241-59, December.
  8. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1995. "Does Inflation 'Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market'?," Working Papers 735, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Blinder, Alan S & Choi, Don H, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-15, November.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.).
  12. Erica Groshen & David Levine, 1998. "The rise and decline(?) of U.S. internal labor markets," Research Paper 9819, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  13. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
  14. Javier Andres & Ignacio Hernando, 1997. "Does Inflation Harm Economic Growth? Evidence for the OECD," NBER Working Papers 6062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Erica Groshen, 1996. "American employer salary surveys and labor economics research: issues and contributions," Research Paper 9604, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. McLaughlin, Kenneth J., 1994. "Rigid wages?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 383-414, December.
  17. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
  18. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  19. Haley, James, 1990. " Theoretical Foundations for Sticky Wages," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 115-55.
  20. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1994. "The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?," Working Paper 9418, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  21. Laurence Ball & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1990. "Inflation and Uncertainty at Long and Short Horizons," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 215-254.
  22. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:31. 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: (Amy Farber).

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.