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Wage Rigidity, Institutions, and Inflation

  • Steinar Holden
  • Fredrik Wulfsberg

A number of recent studies have documented extensive downward nominal wage rigidity (DNWR) for job stayers in many OECD countries. However, DNWR for individual workers may induce downward rigidity or “a floor” for the aggregate wage growth at positive or negative levels. Aggregate wage growth may be below zero because of compositional effects, for example that old, high-wage workers are replaced by young low-wage workers. DNWR may also lead to a positive growth in aggregate wages because of changes in relative wages. We explore industry data for 19 OECD countries, over the period 1971–2006. We find evidence for floors on nominal wage growth at 6 percent and lower in the 1970s and 1980s, at one percent in the 1990s, and at 0.5 percent in the 2000s. Furthermore, we find that DNWR is stronger in country-years with strict employment protection legislation, high union density, centralised wage setting and high inflation.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2009/wp-cesifo-2009-02/cesifo1_wp2554.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2554.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2554
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  21. George A. Akerlof & William T. Dickens & George L. Perry, 2000. "Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 1-60.
  22. Holden, Steinar, 1997. "Wage Bargaining, Holdout, and Inflation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 235-55, April.
  23. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "How strong is the case for downward real wage rigidity?," Working Papers 07-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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