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Understanding low wage growth in the euro area and European countries

Author

Listed:
  • Nickel, Christiane
  • Bobeica, Elena
  • Koester, Gerrit
  • Lis, Eliza
  • Porqueddu, Mario

Abstract

Despite notable improvements in the labour market since 2013, wage growth in the euro area was subdued and substantially overpredicted in 2013-17. This paper summarises the findings of an ESCB expert group on the reasons for low wage growth and provides comparable analyses on wage developments in the euro area as a whole and in individual EU countries. The paper finds that cyclical drivers, as captured by a standard Phillips curve, seem to explain much of the weakness in wage growth during this period, but not all of it. Going beyond the drivers included in standard Phillips curves, other factors are also found to have played a role, such as compositional effects, the possible non-linear reaction of wage growth to cyclical improvements, and structural and institutional factors. In order to increase the robustness of wage forecasts, the paper also proposes ready-to-use tools for cross-checking euro area wage growth forecasts based on wage Phillips curves. These are derived based on a comprehensive real-time forecast evaluation exercise JEL Classification: J30, E24, E31, E32

Suggested Citation

  • Nickel, Christiane & Bobeica, Elena & Koester, Gerrit & Lis, Eliza & Porqueddu, Mario, 2019. "Understanding low wage growth in the euro area and European countries," Occasional Paper Series 232, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbops:2019232
    Note: 166869
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuliana Passamani & Alessandro Sardone & Roberto Tamborini, 2020. "Phillips Curve and output expectations: New perspectives from the Euro Zone," DEM Working Papers 2020/6, Department of Economics and Management.
    2. Fabian Eser & Peter Karadi & Philip R. Lane & Laura Moretti & Chiara Osbat, 2020. "The Phillips Curve at the ECB," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 88(S1), pages 50-85, September.
    3. Anderton, Robert & Jarvis, Valerie & Labhard, Vincent & Morgan, Julian & Petroulakis, Filippos & Vivian, Lara, 2020. "Virtually everywhere? Digitalisation and the euro area and EU economies," Occasional Paper Series 244, European Central Bank.
    4. Hahn, Elke, 2020. "The wage-price pass-through in the euro area: does the growth regime matter?," Working Paper Series 2485, European Central Bank.
    5. György Matolcsy & Márton Nagy & Dániel Palotai & Barnabás Virág, 2020. "Inflation in the Digital Age: Inflation Measurement and Bias in the 21st Century," Financial and Economic Review, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 19(1), pages 5-36.
    6. Tóth, Máté, 2021. "A multivariate unobserved components model to estimate potential output in the euro area: a production function based approach," Working Paper Series 2523, European Central Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycles; forecasting; structural factors; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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