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Wages, labor or prices: how do firms react to shocks?

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  • Dhyne, Emmanuel
  • Druant, Martine

Abstract

Survey results in 15 European countries for almost 15,000 firms reveal that Belgian firms react more than the average European firm to adverse shocks by reducing permanent and temporary employment. On the basis of a firm-level analysis, this paper confirms that the different reaction to shocks is significant and investigates what factors explain this difference. Although the explanatory value of the variables is limited, most of the explanatory power of the model being associated with the dummy variables coding for firm size, sector and country, the variables investigated provide valuable information. The importance of wage bargaining above the firm level, the automatic system of index-linking wages to past inflation, the limited use of flexible pay, the high share of low-skilled blue-collar workers, the labor intensive production process as well as the less stringent legislation with respect to the protection against dismissal are at the basis of the stronger employment reaction of Belgian firms. On the contrary, employment is safeguarded by the presence of many small firms and a wage cushion. JEL Classification: D21, E30, J31

Suggested Citation

  • Dhyne, Emmanuel & Druant, Martine, 2010. "Wages, labor or prices: how do firms react to shocks?," Working Paper Series 1224, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20101224
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. M. Druant & S. Fabiani & Gabor Kezdi & Ana Lamo & Fernando Martins & R. Sabbatini, 2009. "How are Firms’ Wages and Prices Linked: Survey Evidence in Europe," Working Papers w200918, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    2. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie E. Ward, 2007. "How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 195-214, Spring.
    3. Du Caju, Philip & Fuss, Catherine & Wintr, Ladislav, 2012. "Sectoral differences in downward real wage rigidity: workforce composition, institutions, technology and competition," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 45(1), pages 7-22.
    4. Jan Babecký & Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julián Messina & Tairi Rõõm, 2010. "Downward Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity: Survey Evidence from European Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(4), pages 884-910, December.
    5. Jan Babecky & Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julian Messina & Tairi Room, 2009. "The margins of labour cost adjustment : Survey evidence from European firms," Working Paper Research 183, National Bank of Belgium.
    6. Bertola, Giuseppe & Dabusinskas, Aurelijus & Hoeberichts, Marco & Izquierdo, Mario & Kwapil, Claudia & Montornès, Jeremi & Radowski, Daniel, 2012. "Price, wage and employment response to shocks: evidence from the WDN survey," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 783-791.
    7. Julián Messina & Cláudia Filipa Duarte & Mario Izquierdo & Philip Du Caju & Niels Lynggård Hansen, 2010. "The Incidence of Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity: An Individual-Based Sectoral Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 487-496, 04-05.
    8. 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.
    9. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
    10. Fabiani, Silvia & Loupias, Claire & Martins, Fernando & Sabbatini, Roberto (ed.), 2007. "Pricing Decisions in the Euro Area: How Firms Set Prices and Why," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195309287.
    11. M. Druant & Ph. Du Caju & Ph. Delhez, 2008. "Results of the Bank’s survey of wage-setting in Belgian firms," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iii, pages 49-73, September.
    12. Fuss, Catherine, 2009. "What is the most flexible component of wage bill adjustment? Evidence from Belgium," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 320-329, June.
    13. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gani Ramadani, 2017. "Firms’ responses to shocks by price, wage and employment in Macedonia," Working Papers 2017-02, National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia.
    2. Brian Micallef, 2016. "The Adjustment of Maltese Firms to the Post-crisis Economic Environment: Evidence from a Firm-level Survey," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(9), pages 122-133, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost-push shocks; demand shock; indexation; survey; wage bargaining institutions; wage rigidity;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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