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Downward Nominal Rigidity in West German Earnings, 1975-95

  • Thomas Beissinger
  • Christoph Knoppik

If downward nominal wage rigidity exists, it should affect the distribution of earnings changes. We present a common analytical framework for three distinct and previously unconnected approaches to the analysis of downward nominal rigidity, the skewness-location approach, the symmetry approach and the histogram-location approach. We modify them by dropping the assumption of time-invariant rigidity and apply them to earnings data from the IAB-Beschftigtenstichprobe (IABS). We find that the distribution of West German log earnings changes is indeed affected by downward nominal rigidity. Our modification of the approaches also allows us to find that the degree of nominal rigidity depends on business cycle conditions, with weaker rigidity in times of rising unemployment. Our findings support the critics of very low inflation targets. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 2 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 385-417

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:2:y:2001:i:4:p:385-417
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2004. "Robustness And Real Consequences Of Nominal Wage Rigidity," Macroeconomics 0409025, EconWPA.
  2. Knoppik, Christoph, 2007. "Skewness and Location of Distributions of Wage Change Rates in the Presence of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 420, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1994. "The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?," Working Paper 9418, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. David E. Lebow & Raven E. Saks & Beth Anne Wilson, 1999. "Downward nominal wage rigidity: evidence from the employment cost index," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  9. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
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  11. Jacoby, Sanford M & Mitchell, Daniel J B, 1990. "Sticky Stories: Economic Explanations of Employment and Wage Rigidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 33-37, May.
  12. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
  13. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  14. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2003. "Nominal wage rigidity and the rate of inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 762-781, October.
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  17. Joseph G. Altonji & Paul J. Devereux, 1999. "The Extent and Consequences of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," NBER Working Papers 7236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. McLaughlin, Kenneth J., 1994. "Rigid wages?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 383-414, December.
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