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The Margins of Labour Cost Adjustment:Survey Evidence from European Firms

Listed author(s):
  • Lawless, Martina

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)

  • Babecký, Jan

    (Czech National Bank)

  • Du Caju, Philip

    (National Bank of Belgium)

  • Kosma, Theodora

    (Bank of Greece)

  • Messina, Julián

    (World Bank)

  • Rõõm, Tairi

    (Bank of Estonia)

Firms have multiple options at the time of adjusting their wage bills. However, previous literature has mainly focused on base wages. We broaden the analysis beyond downward rigidity in base wages by investigating the use of other margins of labour cost adjustment at the firm level. Using data from a unique survey, we find that firms make frequent use of other, more flexible, components of compensation to adjust the cost of labour. Changes in bonuses and non-pay benefits are some of the potential margins firms use to reduce costs. We also show how the margins of adjustment chosen are affected by firm and worker characteristics.

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File URL: http://www.centralbank.ie/publications/documents/12RT09.pdf
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Paper provided by Central Bank of Ireland in its series Research Technical Papers with number 12/RT/09.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:12/rt/09
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  1. Philip Ducaju & Erwan Gautier & Daphné Momferatou & Mélanie Ward-Warmedinge, 2008. "Institutional features of wage bargaining in 23 European countries, the US and Japan," Working Paper Research 154, National Bank of Belgium.
  2. Jan Babecký & Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julián Messina & Tairi Rõõm, 2010. "Downward nominal and real wage rigidity: survey evidence from European firms," Working Papers 110, Bank of Greece.
  3. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the OECD," CESifo Working Paper Series 2009, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Dickens, William T. & Götte, Lorenz & Groshen, Erica L. & Holden, Steinar & Messina, Julián & Schweitzer, Mark E. & Turunen, Jarkko & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie, 2006. "How wages change: micro evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Working Paper Series 0697, European Central Bank.
  5. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Economics Working Papers 341, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. Lorenz Goette & Uwe Sunde & Thomas Bauer, 2007. "Wage Rigidity: Measurement, Causes and Consequences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 499-507, November.
  7. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2003. "Labour Demand in Germany: An Assessment of Non- Wage Labour Costs," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 154, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  8. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  9. Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Economic Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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