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Efficiency Wages Revisited: The Internal Reference Perspective

  • Danthine, Jean-Pierre
  • Kurmann, Andre

The missing wage rigidity in general equilibrium models of efficiency wages is an artifact of the external wage reference perspective conventionally adopted by the literature. Efficiency wage models based on an internal wage reference perspective are capable of generating strong wage rigidity. We propose a structural model of efficiency wages that is broadly consistent with the reported evidence on fairness in labour relations and rent-sharing. Our model provides a robust explanation for wage rigidity and procyclical effort. It also rationalizes reciprocal behaviour by workers and the observation that firm productivity is a significant predictor of wage setting.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4503.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4503
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  1. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  2. Fabrice Collard & David de la Croix, 2000. "Gift Exchange and the Business Cycle: The Fair Wage Strikes Back," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 166-193, January.
  3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
  4. Jean-Pierre DANTHINE & André KURMANN, 2002. "Fair Wages in a New Keynesian Model of the Business Cycle," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 02.10, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  5. Yellen, Janet L, 1984. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 200-205, May.
  6. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  7. Salop, Steven C, 1979. "A Model of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 117-25, March.
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