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The Margins of Labour Cost Adjustment: Survey Evidence from European Firms

  • Jan Babecky
  • Philip Du Caju
  • Theodora Kosma
  • Martina Lawless
  • Julian Messina
  • Tairi Room

Firms have multiple options at the time of adjusting their wage bills. However, previous literature has mainly focused on base wages. We broaden the analysis beyond downward rigidity in base wages by investigating the use of other margins of labour cost adjustment at the firm level. Using data from a unique survey, we find that European firms make frequent use of other, more flexible, components of compensation to adjust the cost of labour. Changes in bonuses and non-pay benefits are some of the potential margins firms use to reduce costs. We also show how the margins of adjustment chosen are affected by firm and worker characteristics.

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Paper provided by Czech National Bank, Research Department in its series Working Papers with number 2010/07.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cnb:wpaper:2010/07
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  1. Lawless, Martina & Babecký, Jan & Du Caju, Philip & Kosma, Theodora & Messina, Julián & Rõõm, Tairi, 2009. "Downward Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity:Survey Evidence from European Firms," Research Technical Papers 11/RT/09, Central Bank of Ireland.
  2. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2003. "Labour Demand in Germany: An Assessment of Non- Wage Labour Costs," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 154, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  3. Dickens, William T. & Götte, Lorenz & Groshen, Erica L. & Holden, Steinar & Messina, Julián & Schweitzer, Mark E. & Turunen, Jarkko & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2006. "How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," IZA Discussion Papers 2487, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Econometric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  6. Holden, Steinar & Wulfsberg, Fredrik, 2007. "Downward nominal wage rigidity in the OECD," Working Paper Series 0777, European Central Bank.
  7. Du Caju, Ph. & Gautier, E. & Momferatou, D. & Ward-Warmedinger, M., 2008. "Institutional features of wage bargaining in 23 European countries, the US and Japan," Working papers 228, Banque de France.
  8. Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Economic Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Lorenz Goette & Uwe Sunde & Thomas Bauer, 2007. "Wage Rigidity: Measurement, Causes and Consequences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages F499-F507, November.
  10. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2004. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe," Working Paper 2004/5, Norges Bank.
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