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Are Real Wages Rigid Downwards?

  • Steinar Holden
  • Fredrik Wulfsberg

This paper explores the existence of downward real wage rigidity (DRWR) in 19 OECD countries, over the period 1973–1999, using data for hourly nominal earnings at industry level. Based on a nonparametric statistical method, which allows for country and year specific variation in both the median and the dispersion of industry wage changes, we find evidence of some downward rigidity of real wages in OECD countries overall, as well as for regions and time periods. There is some evidence that real wage cuts are less prevalent under strict employment protection legislation and high union density. Generally, we find stronger evidence for downward nominal than for downward real wage rigidity.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1983.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1983
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  22. Holden, Steinar, 2004. "Wage formation under low inflation," Memorandum 09/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
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  24. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie Ward, 2006. "The interaction of labor markets and inflation: analysis of micro data from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  25. John C. Driscoll & Steinar Holden, 2004. "Fairness and Inflation Persistence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 240-251, 04/05.
  26. Michael W. L. Elsby, 2005. "Evaluating the Economic Significance of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0704, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  30. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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