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How flexible are real wages in EU countries? A panel investigation

  • Heinz, Frigyes Ferdinand
  • Rusinova, Desislava

In this paper we estimate the degree of real wage flexibility in 19 EU countries in a wage Phillips curve panel framework. We find evidence for a reaction of wage growth to unemployment and productivity growth. However, due to unemployment persistence, over time the real wage response weakens substantially. Our results suggest that the degree of real wage flexibility tends to be larger in the central and eastern European (CEE) countries than in the euro area; weaker in downturns than during upswings. Moreover, there exists an inflation threshold, below which real wage flexibility seems to decrease. Finally, we find that part of the heterogeneity in real wage flexibility and unemployment might be related to differences in the wage bargaining institutions and more specifically the extent of labour market regulation in different country groups within the EU. JEL Classification: J31, J38, P5

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1360.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111360
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  1. Luca Nunziata, 2005. "Institutions and Wage Determination: a Multi-country Approach," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(4), pages 435-466, 08.
  2. Messina, Julián & Strozzi, Chiara & Turunen, Jarkko, 2008. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: OECD Evidence from the Time and Frequency Domains," IZA Discussion Papers 3884, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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