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Does downward nominal wage rigidity dampen wage increases?

  • Stüber, Heiko
  • Beissinger, Thomas

Focusing on the compression of wage cuts, many empirical studies find a high degree of downward nominal wage rigidity (DNWR). However, the resulting macroeconomic effects seem to be surprisingly weak. This contradiction can be explained within an intertemporal framework in which DNWR not only prevents nominal wage cuts but also induces firms to compress wage increases. We analyze whether a compression of wage increases occurs when DNWR is binding by applying Unconditional Quantile Regression and Seemingly Unrelated Regression to a dataset comprising more than 169 million wage changes. We find evidence of a compression of wage increases and only very small effects of DNWR on average real wage growth. The results indicate that DNWR does not provide a strong argument against low inflation targets.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 56 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 870-887

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:4:p:870-887
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  10. Dickens, William T. & Götte, Lorenz & Groshen, Erica L. & Holden, Steinar & Messina, Julián & Schweitzer, Mark E. & Turunen, Jarkko & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie, 2006. "How wages change: micro evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Working Paper Series 0697, European Central Bank.
  11. Stüber, Heiko & Beissinger, Thomas, 2010. "Does Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity Dampen Wage Increases?," IZA Discussion Papers 5126, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  20. Andreas Behr & Ulrich Pötter, 2010. "Downward Wage Rigidity in Europe: A New Flexible Parametric Approach and Empirical Results," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 169-187, 05.
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