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The Institutional Context of an "Empirical Law": The Wage Curve under Different Regimes of Collective Bargaining

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Author Info

  • Blien, Uwe

    ()
    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

  • Dauth, Wolfgang

    ()
    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

  • Schank, Thorsten

    ()
    (University of Mainz)

  • Schnabel, Claus

    ()
    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Abstract

The wage curve identified by Blanchflower and Oswald (1994) postulates that the wage level is a decreasing function of the regional unemployment rate. In testing this hypothesis, most empirical studies have not taken into account that differences in the institutional framework may have an impact on the existence (or the slope) of a wage curve. Using a large-scale linked employer-employee data set for western Germany, this paper provides a first test of the relevance of different bargaining regimes and of works councils for the existence of a wage curve. In pooled regressions for the period 1998 to 2006 as well as in worker-level or plant-level fixed-effects estimations we obtain evidence for a wage curve for plants with a collective bargaining agreement at firm level. The point estimates for this group of plants are close to the -0.1 elasticity of wages with respect to unemployment postulated by Blanchflower and Oswald. In this regime, we also find that works councils dampen the adjustment of wages to the regional unemployment situation. In the other regimes of plants that either do not make use of collective contracts or apply sectoral agreements, we do not find a wage curve.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4488.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, 2013, 51 (1), 59-79
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4488

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Keywords: wages; collective bargaining; wage curve; Germany;

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Cited by:
  1. Schnitzlein, Daniel D., 2011. "How important is cultural background for the level of intergenerational mobility?," Working Papers 11-12, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Andreas Hauptmann & Hans-Jörg Schmerer, 2012. "International Trade and Collective Bargaining Outcomes: Evidence from German Employer-Employee Data," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 130, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  3. Tinkl, Fabian, 2010. "A note on Hadamard differentiability and differentiability in quadratic mean," IWQW Discussion Paper Series 08/2010, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Wirtschaftspolitik und Quantitative Wirtschaftsforschung (IWQW).
  4. Uwe Jirjahn, 2013. "Der Beitrag der Arbeitsmarktökonomik zur Erforschung von Gewerkschaften und Tarifvertragsbeziehungen in Deutschland," Research Papers in Economics 2013-03, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

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