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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. Goette, Lorenz & Sunde, Uwe & Bauer, Thomas K., 2007. "Wage rigidity: Measurement, causes and consequences," Munich Reprints in Economics 20448, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Du Caju, Philip & Gautier, Erwan & Momferatou, Daphne & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2008. "Institutional Features of Wage Bargaining in 23 European Countries, the US and Japan," IZA Discussion Papers 3867, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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