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Wage Inflation and Structural Unemployment in Ireland


  • Keeney, Mary J.

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)


In this paper we represent structural unemployment by relating observed unemployment to wage inflation. An estimated series for the non-accelerating wage rate of unemployment (NAWRU) shows that the unemployment gap between observed unemployment and the structural rate provides an intuitive account of prevailing aggregate demand conditions within the Irish economy over the period 1980 to 2005. This indicates that the estimated NAWRU series is a good measure of Irish structural unemployment over the period. The estimated NAWRU was at a high level throughout the 1980s and declined over time such that any excess labour slack was dissipated by the mid-1990s. Between 1994 and 2001, the observed unemployment rate was below the estimated NAWRU indicating that the substantial inflationary pressure on wages was justified for the period. Since then, the gap between the estimate of the structural rate and observed rates of unemployment was not that substantial and reflects a healthier situation vis-à-vis wage inflationary pressure. The situation may have been helped by significant inward migration and productivity increases becoming embedded in the Irish economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Keeney, Mary J., 2008. "Wage Inflation and Structural Unemployment in Ireland," Research Technical Papers 7/RT/08, Central Bank of Ireland.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:7/rt/08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Laubach, 2001. "Measuring The NAIRU: Evidence From Seven Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 218-231, May.
    2. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
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    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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