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Real unit labour costs in Eurozone countries: drivers and clusters

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  • Javier Ordóñez

    ()

  • Hector Sala

    ()

  • José Silva

    ()

Abstract

We examine the trajectories of the real unit labour costs (RULCs) in a selection of Eurozone economies. Strong asymmetries in the convergence process of the RULCs and its components—real wages, capital intensity, and technology—are uncovered through decomposition and cluster analyses. In the last three decades, the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) succeeded in reducing their RULCs by more than their northern partners. With the exception of Ireland, however, technological progress was weak; it was through capital intensification that periphery economies gained efficiency and competitiveness. Cluster heterogeneity, and lack of robustness in cluster composition, is a reflection of the difficulties in achieving real convergence and, by extension, nominal convergence. We conclude by outlining technology as the key convergence factor, and call for a wider strategy in labour market policies, which should be more oriented to promote the sources of productivity growth. JEL Classification numbers F43; F62; O47; O52 Copyright Ordóñez et al.; licensee Springer. 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Ordóñez & Hector Sala & José Silva, 2015. "Real unit labour costs in Eurozone countries: drivers and clusters," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:izaels:v:4:y:2015:i:1:p:1-19:10.1186/s40174-015-0036-z
    DOI: 10.1186/s40174-015-0036-z
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:openec:v:29:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11079-018-9488-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Juan Carlos Cuestas & Javier Ordóñez & Karsten Staehr, 2019. "Unit labour costs and the dynamics of output and unemployment in the southern European crisis countries," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 597-616, August.
    3. Ghoshray, Atanu & Ordóñez, Javier & Sala, Hector, 2016. "Euro, crisis and unemployment: Youth patterns, youth policies?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 442-453.
    4. Mercedes Monfort & Javier Ordóñez & Hector Sala, 2018. "Inequality and Unemployment Patterns in Europe: Does Integration Lead to (Real) Convergence?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 703-724, September.
    5. Adnan Velic, 2017. "Current Account Imbalances, Real Exchange Rates, and Nominal Exchange Rate Variability," Trinity Economics Papers tep1417, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real unit labour costs; Eurozone; Real wages; Capital intensity; Technology;

    JEL classification:

    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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