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Unemployment Benefits, Contract Length and Nominal Wage Flexibility


  • Lars Calmfors
  • Ã…sa Johansson


We show in a union-bargaining model that a decrease in the unemployment benefit level increases not only equilibrium employment, but also nominal wage flexibility, and thus reduces employment variations in the case of nominal shocks. Long-term wage contracts lead to highter expected real wages and hence higher expected unemployment than short-term contracts. Therefore lower benefits reduce the expected utility gross of contract costs of a union member more with long-term than with short-term contracts and thus create an incentive for shorter contracts. Incentives for employers work in the same direction. Lower taxes associated with lower benefits also tend to make short-term contracts more attractive.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Calmfors & Ã…sa Johansson, 2001. "Unemployment Benefits, Contract Length and Nominal Wage Flexibility," CESifo Working Paper Series 514, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_514

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. " Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(1), pages 113-141, March.
    2. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
    3. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer, 1988. "The New Keynsesian Economics and the Output-Inflation Trade-off," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 1-82.
    4. Ball, Laurence Markham, 1987. "Externalities from Contract Length," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 615-629, September.
    5. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
    6. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 1998. "Does Exchange Rate Stability Increase Trade and Capital Flows?," Working Papers 98.04, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
    7. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 1998. "Fixed vs. Floating Exchange Rates: How Price Setting Affects the Optimal Choice of Exchange-Rate Regime," NBER Working Papers 6867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pasquale Commendatore & Ingrid Kubin, "undated". "The dynamics of wages and employment in a model of monopolistic competition and efficient bargaining," Modeling, Computing, and Mastering Complexity 2003 03, Society for Computational Economics.
    2. Pasquale Commendatore & Ingrid Kubin, 2009. "Dynamic effects of regulation and deregulation in goods and labour markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 517-537, July.


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