Aggregate Wage Flexibility in Selected New EU Member States
A fixed exchange rate regime eliminates one degree of freedom in absorbing macroeconomic shocks. Therefore, there is a call for higher labor market flexibility in countries which are members of the monetary union or those which intend to join the monetary union. Focusing on the cross-country analysis of labor markets in the enlarged European Union, this paper aims to assess empirically the role of aggregate wages as a correction mechanism for dealing with economic disturbances. A comparable quarterly data-set is constructed covering 1995-2004 for four central European states (CE-4), four new EU members already participating in the Exchange Rate Mechanism-II (ERM-II participants), and three peripheral members of the euro area (EMU- 3). We apply classical time series/panel, Bayesian, and cointegration techniques to determine the extent to which aggregate wages can accommodate shocks in the economy. The macroeconomic data does not seem to support the argument that real wages are flexible in the CE-4, the ERM-II participants, and the EMU-3.
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