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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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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-05/cesifo1_wp1983.pdf
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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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  14. Holden, S., 1998. "Wage Drift and the Relevance of Centralised Wage Setting," Memorandum 04/1998, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
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  17. 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.
  18. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Kurmann, Andre, 2006. "Efficiency wages revisited: The internal reference perspective," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 278-284, February.
  19. Holden, Steinar, 1989. "Wage Drift and Bargaining: Evidence from Norway," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(224), pages 419-32, November.
  20. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  21. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
  22. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2004. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe," Working Paper 2004/5, Norges Bank.
  23. Beth Anne Wilson, 1999. "Wage rigidity: a look inside the firm," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-22, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. Lebow David E & Saks Raven E & Wilson Beth Anne, 2003. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: Evidence from the Employment Cost Index," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, October.
  25. Holden, Steinar, 1997. "Wage Bargaining, Holdout, and Inflation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 235-55, April.
  26. McLaughlin, Kenneth J., 1994. "Rigid wages?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 383-414, December.
  27. 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.
  28. L. Nunziata, 2002. "Institutions and Wage Determination: A Multi-Country Approach," Working Papers 433, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  29. Christoph Knoppik & Thomas Beissinger, 2003. "How Rigid are Nominal Wages? Evidence and Implications for Germany," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(4), pages 619-641, December.
  30. Ellingsen, Tore & Holden, Steinar, 1995. "Sticky Consumption and Rigid Wages," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 62, Stockholm School of Economics.
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  32. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bonin, Holger & Goette, Lorenz & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Real and nominal wage rigidities and the rate of inflation: Evidence from West German micro data," Munich Reprints in Economics 20121, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  33. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
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