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Coordination versus flexibility in wage formation: a focus on the nominal wage impact of productivity in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United States

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  • Marga Peeters
  • Ard den Reijer

Abstract

Wage coordination between countries of the European Monetary Union (EMU) aims at aligning nominal wage growth with labour productivity growth at the national level. We analyse the developments in Germany, the EMU's periphery countries Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain along with the United States over the period 1980 to 2010. Apart from the contribution of productivity to nominal wages, we take into account the contributions of prices, unemployment, replacement rates and taxes by means of an econometrically estimated nonlinear equation resulting from a wage bargaining model. We further study the downward rigidities of nominal wages. The findings show that in past times of low productivity, price inflation and reductions in unemployment still put significant upward pressure on nominal wage growth. The periphery countries are far from aligning nominal wage growth with productivity growth. German productivity is a major wage determinant, but surely not the only one. Within the context of a free bargaining process between employers and labour unions, policy-makers can effectively use the replacement rate to steer the nominal wages outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Marga Peeters & Ard den Reijer, 2014. "Coordination versus flexibility in wage formation: a focus on the nominal wage impact of productivity in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United States," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(7), pages 698-714, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:46:y:2014:i:7:p:698-714
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2013.851773
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peeters, Marga, 2011. "“Better Safe than Sorry” - Individual Risk-free Pension Schemes in the European Union - Macroeconomic Benefits, the Mobile Working Citizen’s Perspective and Why Nots," MPRA Paper 33571, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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