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The margins of labor cost adjustment : survey evidence from European firms

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  • Babecky, Jan
  • Caju, Philip Du
  • Kosma, Theodora
  • Lawless, Martina
  • Messina, Julian
  • Room, Tairi

Abstract

Firms have multiple options at the time of adjusting their wage bills. However, previous literature has mainly focused on base wages. This paper broadens the analysis beyond downward rigidity in base wages by investigating the use of other margins of labor cost adjustment at the firm level. Using data from a unique survey, the authors find that firms make frequent use of other, more flexible, components of compensation to adjust the cost of labor. Changes in bonuses and non-pay benefits are some of the potential margins firms use to reduce costs. The paper also shows how the margins of adjustment chosen are affected by firm and worker characteristics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5160.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5160

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Keywords: Labor Markets; Labor Policies; Environmental Economics&Policies; Microfinance; Economic Theory&Research;

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References

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  1. Du Caju, Ph. & Gautier, E. & Momferatou, D. & Ward-Warmedinger, M., 2008. "Institutional features of wage bargaining in 23 European countries, the US and Japan," Working papers 228, Banque de France.
  2. Lawless, Martina & Babecký, Jan & Du Caju, Philip & Kosma, Theodora & Messina, Julián & Rõõm, Tairi, 2009. "Downward Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity:Survey Evidence from European Firms," Research Technical Papers 11/RT/09, Central Bank of Ireland.
  3. Lorenz Goette & Uwe Sunde & Thomas Bauer, 2007. "Wage Rigidity: Measurement, Causes and Consequences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages F499-F507, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Dias, Daniel A. & Marques, Carlos Robalo & Martins, Fernando, 2013. "Wage rigidity and employment adjustment at the firm level: Evidence from survey data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 40-49.
  2. Aurelijus Dabušinskas & Tairi Rõõm, 2011. "Survey evidence on wage and price setting in Estonia," Bank of Estonia Working Papers wp2011-06, Bank of Estonia, revised 27 May 2011.
  3. Emmanuel Dhyne & Martine Druant, 2010. "Wages, labor or prices : How do firms react to shocks ?," Working Paper Research 193, National Bank of Belgium.
  4. Vasilis Droucopoulos & Panagiotis Chronis, 2010. "“Assessing market dominance”: a comment and an extension," Working Papers 109, Bank of Greece.
  5. Ana María Iregui & Ligia Alba Melo & María Teresa Ramírez, 2010. "Incrementos y rigideces de los salarios en Colombia: Un estudio a partir de una encuesta," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  6. Ana María Iregui B. & Ligia Alba Melo B. & María Teresa Ramírez G., . "Downward Wage Rigidities and Other Firms’ Responses to an Economic Slowdown: Evidence from a Survey of Colombian Firms," Borradores de Economia 612, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  7. Theodoros Mitrakos & Panos Tsakloglou, 2010. "Analyzing and comparing the impact of alternative concepts of resources in distributional studies: Greece, 2004/5," Working Papers 111, Bank of Greece.
  8. Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Tairi Rõõm, 2013. "Why firms avoid cutting wages: survey evidence from European firms," Bank of Estonia Working Papers wp2013-2, Bank of Estonia, revised 24 May 2013.
  9. Daniel Dias & Carlos Robalo Marques & Fernando Martins, 2012. "Labour cost-cutting strategies microeconomic evidence from survey data," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  10. Bergin, Adele & Kelly, Elish & McGuinness, Seamus, 2012. "Explaining Changes in Earnings and Labour Costs During the Recession," Papers EC9, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  11. Fernando Alexandre & Pedro Bação & João Cerejeira & Miguel Portela, 2010. "Manufacturing employment and exchange rates in the Portuguese economy: the role of openness, technology and labour market rigidity," NIPE Working Papers 22/2010, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  12. Frank R. Smets, 2010. "Commetary: modeling inflation after the crisis," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 221-234.
  13. Virbickas, Ernestas, 2010. "Wage and price setting behaviour of Lithuanian firms," Working Paper Series 1198, European Central Bank.

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