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Wage rigidity and employment adjustment at the firm level: Evidence from survey data

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  • Dias, Daniel A.
  • Marques, Carlos Robalo
  • Martins, Fernando

Abstract

This paper uses firm level survey data from Portugal to investigate how firms adjust their labour costs in the presence of wage rigidities. We document that Portuguese firms, besides reducing employment or freezing nominal base wages, also make frequent use of other cost-cutting strategies, like freezing or cutting bonuses and other monetary or non-monetary benefits, slowing down or freezing the rate at which promotions are filled, or recruiting new employees at wages lower than those received by the employees that have left the firm. We show that the utilisation of these different adjustment strategies is affected by workers' and firms' attributes, as well as by some indicators of the economic environment in which firms operate. More importantly, we provide evidence that firms with more flexible base wages are less likely to reduce employment, and that such effect may be significantly strengthened by the availability of alternative labour-cost adjustment margins that firms can use in bad times.

Suggested Citation

  • Dias, Daniel A. & Marques, Carlos Robalo & Martins, Fernando, 2013. "Wage rigidity and employment adjustment at the firm level: Evidence from survey data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 40-49.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:23:y:2013:i:c:p:40-49 DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2013.02.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Fernando Martins, 2015. "On the wage bargaining system in Portugal," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    2. Aedín Doris & Donal O’Neill & Olive Sweetman, 2015. "Wage flexibility and the great recession: the response of the Irish labour market," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Martins, Pedro S., 2014. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," IZA Discussion Papers 8540, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Fernando Martins, 2016. "How the Portuguese firms adjusted to the economic and financial crisis: main shocks and channels of adjustment," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    6. Pedro S. Martins, 2014. "30,000 minimum wages: The economic effects of collective agreement extensions," Working Papers 51, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    7. de Ridder, M. & Pfajfar, D., 2017. "Policy Shocks and Wage Rigidities: Empirical Evidence from Regional Effects of National Shocks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1717, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. Beatrice Scheubel, 2014. "Does It Pay to Be a Woman?: Labour Demand Effects of Maternity-Related Job Protection and Replacement Incomes," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 685, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    9. Fernando Martins, 2013. "Survey evidence on price and wage rigidities in Portugal," Working Papers w201312, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    10. Guimaraes, Paulo & Martins, Fernando & Portugal, Pedro, 2017. "Upward Nominal Wage Rigidity," IZA Discussion Papers 10510, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Daniel Dias & Carlos Robalo Marques & Fernando Martins, 2012. "Labour cost-cutting strategies microeconomic evidence from survey data," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage rigidity; Non-wage labour costs; Unemployment; Probit model;

    JEL classification:

    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions

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