IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/afc/cliome/v5y2011i1p53-78.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Nominal wage rigidity prior to compulsory arbitration: evidence from the Victorian Railways, 1902–1921

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Seltzer

    () (Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK)

  • André Sammartino

    (University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC Australia)

Abstract

Studies across a wide range of countries have shown that relatively few workers have received year-to-year wage cuts since the Second World War. However, there is very little micro-level evidence from earlier years, when lower inflation rates and a less regulated labour market may have led to stronger downwards pressure on wages. This paper examines wage adjustment at the Victorian Railways, Australia, between 1902 and 1921. It is shown that, despite strong downwards pressure on wages, nominal wages were rigid downwards and a high proportion of triennial wage changes were exactly zero. Even for workers with very long tenure and in years when the national price level declined, wage cuts were rare. We also show that the characteristics of workers whose wages were unchanged were very similar to those receiving wage cuts. Finally, we show that unlike the wages of incumbent staff, entry wages for new junior staff frequently declined from year to year.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Seltzer & André Sammartino, 2011. "Nominal wage rigidity prior to compulsory arbitration: evidence from the Victorian Railways, 1902–1921," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 5(1), pages 53-78, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:5:y:2011:i:1:p:53-78
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11698-010-0050-3
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to journal subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Downwards nominal wage rigidity; Internal labour markets; Victorian Railways; Australia;

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:5:y:2011:i:1:p:53-78. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/afcccea.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.