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Labour Market Asymmetries in a Monetary Union


  • Torben Andersen


  • Martin Seneca


This paper takes a first step in analysing how a monetary union performs in the presence of labour market asymmetries. Differences in wage flexibility, market power and country sizes are allowed for in a setting with both country-specific and aggregate shocks. The implications of asymmetries for both the overall performance of the monetary union and the country-specific situation are analysed. It is shown that asymmetries can have important effects, and that there are substantial spill-over effects. Among other things, it is found that aggregate output volatility is not strictly increasing in nominal rigidity but hump-shaped. A disproportionate share of the consequences of wage inflexibility may fall on small countries. In the case of country-specific shocks a country unambiguously benefits in terms of macroeconomic stability by becoming more flexible, but in general an inflexible country does not necessarily achieve more output stability by becoming more flexible. As this may be desirable for the monetary union as a whole, there is a risk of a ?reform deficit? in an asymmetric monetary union.
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Suggested Citation

  • Torben Andersen & Martin Seneca, 2010. "Labour Market Asymmetries in a Monetary Union," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 483-514, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:openec:v:21:y:2010:i:4:p:483-514 DOI: 10.1007/s11079-009-9136-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mirko Abbritti & Andreas I. Mueller, 2013. "Asymmetric Labor Market Institutions in the EMU and the Volatility of Inflation and Unemployment Differentials," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(6), pages 1165-1186, September.
    2. Buscher, Herbert S. & Gabrisch, Hubert, 2009. "Is the European Monetary Union an Endogenous Currency Area? The Example of the Labor Markets," IWH Discussion Papers 7/2009, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    3. Tyrowicz, Joanna, 2009. "When Eastern Labour Markets Enter Western Europe CEECs. Labour Market Institutions upon Euro Zone Accession," MPRA Paper 15045, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nikolas Kontogiannis, 2015. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency union with labour market heterogeneity," Working Papers 2015.04, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
    5. Barbier-Gauchard, Amélie & De Palma, Francesco & Diana, Giuseppe, 2014. "Why should Southern economies stay in the Euro Zone? The role of labor markets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 201-208.

    More about this item


    Wage formation; Nominal wage rigidity; Staggered contracts; Monetary policy; Monetary union; Business cycles; Shocks; E30; E52; F41;

    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)


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