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Rethinking wage policy in the face of the Euro crisis. Implications of the wage-led demand regime

  • Engelbert Stockhammer
  • �zlem Onaran

Ten years after its introduction, the Euro is in an existential crisis. The crisis is the outcome of economic policies that have aimed at labour market flexibility and financial integration. This paper argues, firstly, that the aggregate demand regime in the Euro area is wage led. While an increase in wages (other things equal) does have a negative effect on investment and on net exports, it does have a positive effect on consumption. As the Euro area is a relatively closed economy, the consumption effect overpowers the investment effect and the export effect. Secondly, we argue that in the Euro area two growth models have emerged: a credit-led and an export-led model. These have given rise to the imbalances that are at the heart of the Euro crisis. Wage flexibility has proven insufficient to prevent these imbalances. Thirdly, we advocate a system of coordinated wage bargaining that aims at wages rising in line with productivity growth and a substantially upward-revised inflation target. If the project of European economic integration is to survive, it needs a drastic change in direction. An important building block of this redirection is a rethinking of the role of wage policy.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/02692171.2011.631903
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
Pages: 191-203

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Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:26:y:2012:i:2:p:191-203
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  1. Philip Arestis & Kevin McCauley & Malcolm Sawyer, 2000. "An Alternative Stability Pact for the European Union," Macroeconomics 0004043, EconWPA.
  2. Engelbert Stockhammer & Eckhard Hein & Lucas Grafl, 2007. "Globalization and the effects of changes in functional income distribution on aggregate demand in Germany," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp114, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  3. Engelbert Stockhammer & �zlem Onaran & Stefan Ederer, 2009. "Functional income distribution and aggregate demand in the Euro area," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 139-159, January.
  4. Taylor, Lance, 1985. "A Stagnationist Model of Economic Growth," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 383-403, December.
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