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The Development of Nominal Wage Rigidity in the Late 19th Century

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  • Hanes, Christopher

Abstract

Wage, price, and output indexes suitable for comparing cyclical movements across decades show a decrease in nominal wage flexibility (the change in wage inflation associated with output fluctuations) after the 1880s, following an increase in strike frequency linked to the spread of large-scale manufacturing. Cross-sectional data show that firms in industries experiencing more strikes in the 1880s were less likely to cut nominal wages in the depression of 1893. This and other evidence suggests that the nineteenth-century decrease in wage flexibility was caused by an increase in workers' bargaining power in the absence of binding wage contracts. Copyright 1993 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanes, Christopher, 1993. "The Development of Nominal Wage Rigidity in the Late 19th Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 732-756, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:83:y:1993:i:4:p:732-56
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    1. Labour repression & the Indo-Japanese divergence
      by pseudoerasmus in Pseudoerasmus on 2017-10-02 06:04:55

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    Cited by:

    1. Craighead, William D. & Tien, Pao-Lin, 2015. "Nominal shocks and real exchange rates: Evidence from two centuries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 135-157.
    2. Charles W. Calomiris & Christopher Hanes, 1994. "Historical Macroeconomics and American Macroeconomic History," NBER Working Papers 4935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Barry Eichengreen., 1994. "History and Reform of the International Monetary System," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C94-041, University of California at Berkeley.
    4. Seltzer, Andrew, 2010. "Did firms cut nominal wages in a deflationary environment?: Micro-level evidence from the late 19th and early 20th century banking industry," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 112-125, January.
    5. Michael Bordo & Andrew Filardo, 2005. "Deflation and monetary policy in a historical perspective: remembering the past or being condemned to repeat it?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(44), pages 799-844, October.
    6. Newby, Elisa, 2012. "The suspension of the gold standard as sustainable monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1498-1519.
    7. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Alan M. Taylor, 2013. "Cross of Euros," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 167-192, Summer.
    8. David Genesove & Wallace P. Mullin, 1995. "Validating the Conjectural Variation Method: The Sugar Industry, 1890- 1914," NBER Working Papers 5314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Domenech, Jordi, 2005. "Labour market adjustment to economic downturns in the Catalan textile industry, 1880-1910: did employers breach implicit contracts?," Economic History Working Papers 22333, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    10. Ward, Felix & Chen, Yao, 2016. "Rigid relations: External adjustment under the Gold Standard (1880-1913)," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145930, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Natalia Chernyshoff & David S. Jacks & Alan M. Taylor, 2005. "Stuck on Gold: Real Exchange Rate Volatility and the Rise and Fall of the Gold Standard," NBER Working Papers 11795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. John Bennett & Manfredi M. A. La Manna, 2001. "Reversing the Keynesian Asymmetry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1556-1563, December.
    13. Anthony Yates, 1998. "Downward nominal rigidity and monetary policy," Bank of England working papers 82, Bank of England.
    14. Dibooglu, Selahattin & Enders, Walter, 2001. "Do Real Wages Respond Asymmetrically to Unemployment Shocks? Evidence from the U.S. and Canada," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 495-515, October.
    15. Chernyshoff, Natalia & Jacks, David S. & Taylor, Alan M., 2009. "Stuck on gold: Real exchange rate volatility and the rise and fall of the gold standard, 1875-1939," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 195-205, April.
    16. repec:eee:macchp:v2-297 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Baffigi, Alberto & Bontempi, Maria Elena & Felice, Emanuele & Golinelli, Roberto, 2015. "The changing relationship between inflation and the economic cycle in Italy: 1861–2012," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 53-70.
    18. Beckworth, David, 2007. "The postbellum deflation and its lessons for today," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 195-214, August.
    19. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/f4rshpf3v1umfa09lat1n0o44 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Bengtsson, Erik, 2016. "Inequality and the working class in Scandinavia 1800 to 1910 - Workers' share of growing income," Lund Papers in Economic History 142, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    21. Geraghty, Thomas M. & Wiseman, Thomas, 2011. "Conflict and compromise: Changes in U.S. strike outcomes, 1880 to 1945," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 519-537.
    22. David Genesove & Wallace P. Mullin, 2006. "Predation and its rate of return: the sugar industry, 1887–1914," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 47-69, March.
    23. David Khoudour-Casteras, 2005. "Migrations internationales, régimes de change et politiques sociales : un nouveau trilemme de politique économique ?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/f4rshpf3v1u, Sciences Po.
    24. Dennis A.V. Dittrich, 2004. "Wages, Length of Relationship and Bargaining Power: An experimental study in a world of complete contracts," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-18, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    25. Susanto Basu & Christopher L. House, 2016. "Allocative and Remitted Wages: New Facts and Challenges for Keynesian Models," NBER Working Papers 22279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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