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Testing the Morale Theory of Nominal Wage Rigidity

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  • Daiji Kawaguchi
  • Fumio Ohtake

Abstract

This paper attempts to test the morale theory of nominal wage rigidity by identifying the causal effect of pay cuts on workers' income satisfaction and work morale. This paper uses the current deflationary recession in Japan to estimate this causal effect. Our original survey of Japanese firms and their employees conducted in 2000 revealed that about 17 percent of our sample experienced a nominal, annual income decline. These wage cuts severely decreased income satisfaction and work morale. We consider several channels through which pay cuts deteriorate workers' pay satisfaction and work morale. We found that an income freeze demoralizes workers by reducing workers' trust in their firms, but an income decline decreases work morale even after controlling for this reduction of trust. Allowing for the firm fixed effects does not alter the robust relationship between the income cut and demoralization. Overall, our results consistently indicate the adverse effect of income cuts on workers' pay satisfaction and morale. This evidence, obtained from a deflationary economy, supports Bewley (1999)'s morale theory of nominal wage rigidity.

Suggested Citation

  • Daiji Kawaguchi & Fumio Ohtake, 2004. "Testing the Morale Theory of Nominal Wage Rigidity," ISER Discussion Paper 0602, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0602
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    File URL: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2004/DP0602.pdf
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    1. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-1015.
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Paul J. Devereux, 1999. "The Extent and Consequences of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," NBER Working Papers 7236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alan G. Ahearne & Joseph E. Gagnon & Jane Haltmaier & Steve Kamin ... [et al.]., 2002. "Preventing deflation: lessons from Japan's experience in the 1990s," International Finance Discussion Papers 729, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Kanemoto, Yoshitsugu & Bentley MacLeod, W., 1992. "Firm reputation and self-enforcing labor contracts," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 144-162, June.
    5. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kawaguchi, Daiji & Naito, Hisahiro & Yokoyama, Izumi, 2017. "Assessing the effects of reducing standard hours: Regression discontinuity evidence from Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 59-76.
    2. Ahrens, Steffen & Pirschel, Inske & Snower, Dennis J., 2014. "A theory of wage adjustment under loss aversion," Kiel Working Papers 1977, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Sachiko Kuroda & Isamu Yamamoto, 2014. "Is Downward Wage Flexibility the Primary Factor of Japan's Prolonged Deflation?," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 9(1), pages 143-158, January.
    4. Yoshiyasu Ono & Junichiro Ishida, 2014. "On Persistent Demand Shortages: A Behavioural Approach," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 42-69, March.
    5. Ana María Iregui & Ligia Alba Melo & María Teresa Ramírez, 2010. "Incrementos y rigideces de los salarios en Colombia: Un estudio a partir de una encuesta," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, November.
    6. Ana María Iregui & Ligia Alba Melo & María Teresa Ramírez, 2009. "Formación e incrementos de salarios en Colombia: Un estudio microeconómico a partir de una encuesta a nivel de firma," Borradores de Economia 582, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    7. Barno Blaes, 2008. "Ausmaß und reale Konsequenzen nach unten starrer Nominallöhne," Working Papers 048, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    8. Hiroshi Fujiki & Howard J. Wall, 2006. "Controlling for geographic dispersion when estimating the Japanese Phillips curve," Working Papers 2006-057, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    9. Strawczynski, Michel & Zeira, Joseph, 2009. "Cyclicality of Fiscal Policy: Permanent and Transitory Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 7271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Izumi Yokoyama & Kazuhito Higa & Daiji Kawaguchi, 2018. "Adjustments of regular and non-regular workers to exogenous shocks: Evidence from exchange rate fluctuation," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 18-E-2, Bank of Japan.

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