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Downward wage rigidity

There has recently been considerable discussion about the ability of inflation to facilitate the adjustment of prices and wages and thus enhance economic performance. The discussion centres on whether wages are downwardly rigid. Wages are said to be downwardly rigid if it is difficult for the wages of some workers to fall despite underlying supply and demand pressures for decreases. Some authors have suggested that if downward nominal wage rigidity is prevalent it would be desirable to select a positive rate of inflation as the target for monetary policy. In this article, the authors evaluate the wage-rigidity hypothesis. They first examine the empirical evidence to assess whether the degree of downward rigidity is significant in Canada. They then analyze some key assumptions of the wage-rigidity hypothesis and its implications for employment. They also look at the empirical evidence on whether the combination of downward wage rigidity and low inflation has reduced employment.

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Article provided by Bank of Canada in its journal Bank of Canada Review.

Volume (Year): 1998-1999 (1999)
Issue (Month): Winter ()
Pages: 29-48

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Handle: RePEc:bca:bcarev:v:1999:y:1999:i:winter98-99:p:29-48
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  1. Wayne Simpson & Norman E. Cameron & Derek Hum, 1998. "Is Hypoinflation Good Policy?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(3), pages 291-308, September.
  2. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
  3. Farès, J. & Hogan, S., 2000. "The Employment Costs of Downward Nominal-Wage Rigidity," Working Papers 00-1, Bank of Canada.
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