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Is Hypoinflation Good Policy?

  • Wayne Simpson
  • Norman E. Cameron
  • Derek Hum
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    One argument against a policy to achieve absolute price stability is that workers resist pay cuts. We examine several Canadian microdata sources and corroborate earlier evidence of pay-cut resistance, particularly recently as inflation has approached zero. We then use data on industrial sectors to estimate that pay-cut resistance reduced employment growth by from 0.6 to 1.5 percent per annum from 1993 to 1995. We also estimate a model of wage settlements, treating pay freezes and pay cuts as censored data, which implies that pay-cut resistance may have increased the annual unemployment rate by as much as 2 percent during the same period. In view of these results, the case for very low inflation targets should be reexamined.

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    Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

    Volume (Year): 24 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 291-308

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    Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:24:y:1998:i:3:p:291-308
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    1. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    2. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1996. "The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?," Staff Reports 9, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
    4. James Tobin, 1956. "Estimation of Relationships for Limited Dependent Variables," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 3R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. 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.
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