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The Effects of European Economic and Monetary Union on Wage Behaviour

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  • Lauer, Charlotte

    ()
    (ZEW Mannheim)

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    Abstract

    This paper evaluates the possible consequences of the forthcoming European and Monetary Union on wage behavior. It will be shown that EMU does not influence wage policy directly, but rather indirectly through its implications on other areas of economic policy, predominantly on monetary policy. Consequently, EMU will put increasing pressure on using wage policy as a flexible adjustment variable, since other adjustment mechanisms shall cease to exist. Six European countries were analyzed empirically, which showed that in the past, southern European countries conducted a much more expansive wage policy than northern European countries. However, this competitive disadvantage of the southern countries was more than compensated by exchange rate developments. What will happen when EMU has come into effect? Either fewer devaluation possibilities within EMU will lead to a shift in competitive positions in favor of the northern countries, or a change in wage behavior will be observed. The descriptive analysis shows that, on the eve of EMU, wage policy has become more moderate. This trend could be accelerated by the arrival of EMU. The econometric analysis provides an argument for this: the stability of exchange rates have been proven to have a dampening effect on wage increases in the past, particularly in southern European countries. Whether the extent of these effects will be sufficient to prevent a shift in relative competitive positions, however, remains to be seen.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp36.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 36.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 1999
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp36

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    Related research

    Keywords: European Monetary Union; Euro; wage behavior; wage policy;

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    References

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    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.:
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    1. Müller, Claudia & Buscher, Herbert S., 1999. "The impact of monetary instruments on shock absorption in EU-Countries," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-15, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Stirböck, Claudia & Heinemann, Friedrich, 1999. "Capital Mobility within EMU," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-19, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Buscher, Herbert S., 1999. "Business Cycles in EU Member States," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-16, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    Cited by:
    1. Patrick A. Puhani, 2001. "Labour Mobility: An Adjustment Mechanism in Euroland? Empirical Evidence for Western Germany, France and Italy," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(2), pages 127-140, 05.
    2. Puhani, Patrick A., 1999. "Labour Mobility - An Adjustment Mechanism in Euroland?," IZA Discussion Papers 34, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Susanne Lütz & Matthias Kranke, 2010. "Beyond the crisis: EMU and labour market reform pressures in good and bad times," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53300, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Van Poeck Andrè & Veiner Maret & Plasmans Joseph, 2007. "Wage flexibility in the new European Union members: How different form the “old” members?," wp.comunite 0006, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.

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