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How strong is the macroeconomic case for downward real wage rigidity?

  • Holden, Steinar
  • Wulfsberg, Fredrik

We explore the existence of downward real wage rigidity (DRWR) at the industry level, based on data from 19 OECD countries for the period 1973-1999. The results show that DRWR compresses the distributions of industry wage changes overall, as well as for specific geographical regions and time periods, but there are not many real wage cuts that are prevented. More important, however, DRWR attenuates larger real wage cuts, thus leading to higher real wages. There is stronger evidence for downward nominal wage rigidity than for DRWR. Real wage cuts are less prevalent in countries with strict employment protection legislation and high union density.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 605-615

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:56:y:2009:i:4:p:605-615
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