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Wage Dispersion and Productive Efficiency: Evidence for Sweden

  • Hibbs, Douglas A, Jr
  • Locking, Hakan

The Swedish record of enormous compression of relative wages under centralized "solidarity" bargaining, followed by substantial decompression of wages after central bargaining broke down, supplies observations well suited to empirical evaluation of arguments about the response of productive efficiency to shifts in wage distribution. We obtain no results supporting "fairness, morale, and cohesiveness" theories implying that wage leveling within workplaces and industries may enhance productivity. Reduction of interindustry wage differentials evidently did, however, contribute positively to aggregate output and productivity growth, most likely for the structural reasons first emphasized by Swedish trade union economists almost a half century ago. Copyright 2000 by University of Chicago Press.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 755-82

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:18:y:2000:i:4:p:755-82
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  1. Agell, Jonas & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1993. " Egalitarianism and Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 559-79, December.
  2. Lundberg, Erik, 1985. "The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Model," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 1-36, March.
  3. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," NBER Working Papers 4678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1993. "Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Working Paper Series 380, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Working Papers 4085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hibbs, Douglas Jr. & Locking, Hakan, 1996. "Wage compression, wage drift and wage inflation in Sweden," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 109-141, September.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521590730 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Pehkonen, Jaakko, 1995. "Wages and productivity growth in the Nordic countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 1181-1196, June.
  9. Flam, Harry, 1987. " Equal Pay for Unequal Work," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(4), pages 435-50.
  10. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  11. Per-Anders Edin & Bertil Holmlund, 1995. "The Swedish Wage Structure: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 307-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Lindbeck, A., 1983. "Interpreting income distributions in a welfare state : The case of Sweden," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 227-256, July.
  13. Moene, Karl Ove & Wallerstein, Michael, 1997. "Pay Inequality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 403-30, July.
  14. Gordon, Robert J. & Gordon, Robert J., 1987. "Productivity, wages, and prices inside and outside of manufacturing in the U.S., Japan, and Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 685-733, April.
  15. Levine, David I, 1992. "Can Wage Increases Pay for Themselves? Tests with a Production Function," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1102-15, September.
  16. Addison, John T & Hirsch, Barry T, 1989. "Union Effects on Productivity, Profits, and Growth: Has the Long Run Arrived?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 72-105, January.
  17. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, December.
  18. Edin, Per-Anders & Zetterberg, Johnny, 1992. "Interindustry Wage Differentials: Evidence from Sweden and a Comparison with the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1341-49, December.
  19. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
  20. Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Reflections on the Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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