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The incidence of nominal and real wage rigidity: an individual-based sectoral approach

  • Messina, Julián
  • Du Caju, Philip
  • Izquierdo, Mario
  • Duarte, Cláudia Filipa
  • Hansen, Niels Lynggård

This paper presents estimates based on individual data of downward nominal and real wage rigidities for thirteen sectors in Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Portugal. Our methodology follows the approach recently developed for the International Wage Flexibility Project, whereby resistance to nominal and real wage cuts is measured through departures of observed individual wage change histograms from an estimated counterfactual wage change distribution that would have prevailed in the absence of rigidity. We evaluate the role of worker and firm characteristics in shaping wage rigidities. We also confront our estimates of wage rigidities to structural features of the labour markets studied, such as the wage bargaining level, variable pay policy and the degree of product market competition. We find that the use of firm-level collective agreements in countries with rather centralized wage formation reduces the degree of real wage rigidity. This finding suggests that some degree of decentralization within highly centralized countries allows firms to adjust wages downwards, when business conditions turn bad. JEL Classification: J31

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1213.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20101213
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  1. Philip Du Caju & Erwan Gautier & Daphne Momferatu & Melanie Ward-Warmedinger, 2009. "Institutional Features of Wage Bargaining in 23 European Countries, the US and Japan," Ekonomia, Cyprus Economic Society and University of Cyprus, vol. 12(2), pages 57-108, Winter.
  2. Philip Du Caju & Catherine Fuss & Ladislav Wintr, 2009. "Understanding sectoral differences in downward real wage rigidity : workforce composition, institutions, technology and competition," Working Paper Research 156, National Bank of Belgium.
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