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Nominal Wage Flexibility, Wage Indexation and Monetary Union


  • Lars Calmfors
  • Asa Johansson


Membership in a monetary union implies stronger incentives for nominal wage flexibility in the form of wage indexation and shorter contract length than non-membership. This counteracts the stabilisation policy cost of giving up monetary independence. But more wage flexibility is only an imperfect substitute for an individual monetary policy. It is possible that an increase in wage flexibility is welfare-decreasing because of the accompanying rise in price variability. The interaction between wage setting and central bank behaviour may result in either multiple equilibria or a unique full-indexation equilibrium. Copyright 2006 Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Calmfors & Asa Johansson, 2006. "Nominal Wage Flexibility, Wage Indexation and Monetary Union," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 283-308, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:508:p:283-308

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Camba-Méndez, Gonzalo & Garcí­a, Juan Angel & Rodriguez-Palenzuela, Diego, 2003. "Relevant economic issues concerning the optimal rate of inflation," Working Paper Series 278, European Central Bank.
    2. Jonung, Lars & Fregert, Klas, 2008. "Inflation Targeting Is a Success, So Far: 100 Years of Evidence from Swedish Wage Contracts," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 2, pages 1-25.
    3. Liam Graham & Dennis J. Snower, 2008. "Hyperbolic Discounting and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 427-448, March.
    4. James, Jonathan G. & Lawler, Phillip, 2010. "Macroeconomic shocks, unionized labour markets and central bank disclosure policy: How beneficial is increased transparency?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 506-516, December.
    5. Petra Marotzke & Robert Anderton & Ana Bairrao & Clémence Berson & Peter Tóth, 2016. "Wage adjustment and employment in Europe," Discussion Papers 2016-19, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    6. Ozge Senay & Alan Sutherland, 2014. "Endogenous price flexibility and optimal monetary policy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 1121-1144.
    7. Peeters, Marga & Den Reijer, Ard, 2011. "On wage formation, wage flexibility and wage coordination : A focus on the wage impact of productivity in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United States," MPRA Paper 31102, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Andrzej Torój, 2010. "Rationality of Expectations: Another OCA Criterion? A DSGE Analysis," Central European Journal of Economic Modelling and Econometrics, CEJEME, vol. 2(3), pages 205-252, June.
    9. James, Jonathan G. & Lawler, Phillip, 2011. "Optimal delegation implications of central bank transparency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 8-11, October.
    10. Julio A. Carrillo & Gert Peersman & Joris Wauters, 2013. "Endogenous Wage Indexation and Aggregate Shocks," Working Papers 2013-19, Banco de México.
    11. James, Jonathan G. & Lawler, Phillip, 2010. "Union objectives and indexation externalities in a monopolistically competitive economy," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 28-35, March.
    12. Geronikolaou, George & Spyromitros, Eleftherios & Tsintzos, Panagiotis, 2016. "Inflation persistence: The path of labor market structural reforms," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 317-322.
    13. Alho, Kari E.O., 2006. "Structural Reforms in the EU and Political Myopia in Economic Policies," Discussion Papers 1050, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    14. repec:kap:openec:v:28:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11079-017-9438-z is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Marga Peeters & Ard den Reijer, 2014. "Coordination versus flexibility in wage formation: a focus on the nominal wage impact of productivity in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United States," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(7), pages 698-714, March.
    16. James, Jonathan G. & Lawler, Phillip, 2006. "Productivity, indexation and macroeconomic outcomes: The implications of goods market competition and wage bargaining structure," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 58(5-6), pages 465-479.
    17. Frank Heinemann, 2006. "Wage Indexation and Monetary Policy," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(3), pages 486-504, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics


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