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Central Bank Independence, Centralization of Wage Bargaining, Inflation and Unemployment: Theory and Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Alex Cukierman

    (Tel Aviv University and Tilburg University)

  • Francesco Lippi

    (Banca d'Italia)

Abstract

This paper proposes a conceptual framework that makes it possible to investigate the effects of central bank independence, the degree of centralization of wage bargaining and the interaction between those institutional variables on the real wage, unemployment and inflation. This is done by considering a two-stage strategic interaction between a central bank (CB) with a given degree of conservativeness and a number of unions each of which sets its own nominal wage taking the nominal wages of other unions and the reaction-function of the CB as given. In the second stage the CB picks inflation so as to minimize the combined costs of inflation and unemployment, taking union's wage rates as given. Since unions are averse to inflation they partly moderate their wage demands in order to induce the CB to inflate at a lower rate. An increase in the degree of centralization of wage bargaining (a decrease in the number of unions) triggers two opposite effects on real wages, unemployment and inflation. The decrease in the number of unions reduces the substitutability between the workers of different unions and therefore the degree of effective competition between them. This "reduced competition effect" raises real wages, unemployment and inflation. But the decrease in the number of unions also strengthens the moderating effect of inflationary fears on the real wage demands of each union. This "strategic effect" lowers real wages, unemployment and inflation. The interaction between those two effects produces a Calmfors- Driffill type relation between real wages and centralization. The paper analyzes the effects of centralization and independence on the position and the shape of this Calmfors-Driffill relation as well as on inflation and unemployment. Some of the resulting implications are tested empirically using data from nineteen developed economies. Implications for the optimal degree of conservativeness and for EMU are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Cukierman & Francesco Lippi, 1998. "Central Bank Independence, Centralization of Wage Bargaining, Inflation and Unemployment: Theory and Evidence," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 332, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_332_98
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Bartolomeo, 2004. "Is a Conservative Central Banker a (Perfect) Substitute for Wage Coordination?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 281-294, June.
    2. Steinar Holden, 2003. "Wage-setting under Different Monetary Regimes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(278), pages 251-265, May.
    3. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Unemployment, Labour-Market Reform and Monetary Union," Seminar Papers 639, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    4. Lorenzo Forni, 2004. "Centralization of wage bargaining and the unemployment rate: revisiting the hump-shape hypothesis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 492, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Kilponen, Juha & Mayes, David & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1999. "Labour Market Flexibility in Northern Europe," ERSA conference papers ersa99pa088, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Carsten Hefeker & Blandine Zimmer, 2010. "Central bank independence and conservatism under uncertainty: Substitutes or complements?," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 140-10, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
    7. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Douglas A. Jr. Hibbs, 2003. "Labor market regimes and monetary policy," Macroeconomics 0307012, EconWPA.
    8. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Patrizio Tirelli & Nicola Acocella, 2008. "Trend inflation as a workers disciplining device in a general equilibrium model," Working Papers 142, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
    9. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni, 2004. "Non-neutrality of monetary policy in policy games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 695-707, September.
    10. Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi & Denis Fougère & Erwan Gautier, 2013. "Wage Rigidity, Collective Bargaining, and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from French Agreement Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1337-1351, October.
    11. Floro Ernesto Caroleo, 2000. "Le politiche per l'occupazione in Europa: una tassonomia istituzionale," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2000(71).
    12. Daniels, Joseph P. & Nourzad, Farrokh & VanHoose, David D., 2006. "Openness, centralized wage bargaining, and inflation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 969-988, December.
    13. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Enrico Marchetti, 2004. "Central banks and information provided to the private sector," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 57(230), pages 265-295.
    14. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo, 2007. "Is Corporatism Feasible?," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 340-359, May.
    15. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Bartolomeo, 2013. "The Cost Of Social Pacts," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 238-255, July.
    16. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Patrizio Tirelli & Nicola Acocella, 2013. "Trend inflation as a workers’ discipline device," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 215-235, May.
    17. Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 1999. "Central bank independence, centralization of wage bargaining, inflation and unemployment:: Theory and some evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1395-1434, June.
    18. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2009. "The macroeconomics of social pacts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 202-213, October.
    19. Stefano Siviero & Daniele Terlizzese & Ignazio Visco, 1999. "Are model-based inflation forecasts used in monetary policymaking? A case study," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 357, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    20. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo, 2001. "Robustness and feasibility of corporatism," Working Papers 44, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
    21. Nicola Acocella & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Douglas A. Hibbs, 2002. "Jr Labor market regimes and monetary policy," Working Papers 58, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
    22. Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "How much should central banks talk?: A new argument," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 195-198, October.
    23. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2008. "Labor market regimes and the effects of monetary policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 134-156, March.
    24. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Nicola Acocella & Wilfried Pauwels, 2004. "Is There any Scope for Corporatism in Stabilization Policies?," Working Papers 2009.154, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    25. Gernot Pehnelt, 2007. "Globalisation and Inflation in OECD Countries," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-055, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monetary institutions; Credibility; Industrial organization of labor markets; Centralization of wage bargaining; Inflation; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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