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Are Real Wages Rigid Downwards?

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  • Steinar Holden
  • Fredrik Wulfsberg

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "Are Real Wages Rigid Downwards?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1983, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1983
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    Cited by:

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    3. Amegashie, J. Atsu & Ouattara, Bazoumanna & Strobl, Eric, 2007. "Moral Hazard and the Composition of Transfers: Theory with an Application to Foreign Aid," MPRA Paper 3158, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 May 2007.
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    5. Spruk, Rok, 2010. "Iceland's Economic and Financial Crisis: Causes, Consequences and Implications," MPRA Paper 29972, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Harilaos Mertzanis, 2009. "Efficiency Wages, Inflation And Growth," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 131-151, December.
    7. Markus Knell & Alfred Stiglbauer, 2012. "Reference Norms, Staggered Wages, And Wage Leadership: Theoretical Implications And Empirical Evidence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 569-592, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    downward real wage rigidity; OECD; employment protection legislation; wage setting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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