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The link between labor cost and price inflation in the euro area

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  • Bobeica, Elena
  • Ciccarelli, Matteo
  • Vansteenkiste, Isabel

Abstract

This paper documents, for the first time in a systematic manner, the link between labor cost and price inflation in the euro area. Using country and sector quarterly data over the period 1985Q1-2018Q1 we find a strong link between labor cost and price inflation in the four major economies of the euro area and across the three main sectors. The dynamic interaction between prices and wages is time-varying and depends on the state of the economy and on the shocks hitting the economy. Our results show that it is more likely that labor costs are passed on to price inflation with demand shocks than with supply shocks. However, the pass-through is systematically lower in periods of low inflation as compared to periods of high inflation. These results confirm that, under circumstances of predominantly demand shocks, labor cost increases will be passed on to prices. Coming from a period of low inflation, however, this pass-through could be moderate at least until inflation stably reaches a sustained path. JEL Classification: C32, E24, E31

Suggested Citation

  • Bobeica, Elena & Ciccarelli, Matteo & Vansteenkiste, Isabel, 2019. "The link between labor cost and price inflation in the euro area," Working Paper Series 2235, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20192235
    Note: 2382002
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    8. Clara De Luigi & Florian Huber & Josef Schreiner, 2019. "The impact of labor cost growth on inflation in selected CESEE countries," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q4/19, pages 56-78.
    9. Elke Hahn, 2021. "How are wage developments passed through to prices in the euro area? Evidence from a BVAR model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(22), pages 2467-2485, May.
    10. Byrne, David & Zekaite, Zivile, 2019. "Euro area longer-term inflation expectations revisited," Economic Letters 12/EL/19, Central Bank of Ireland.
    11. Hahn, Elke, 2020. "The wage-price pass-through in the euro area: does the growth regime matter?," Working Paper Series 2485, European Central Bank.
    12. Emanuel Kohlscheen & Richhild Moessner, 2021. "Globalisation and the Decoupling of Inflation from Domestic Labour Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 9281, CESifo.
    13. Diegel, Max & Nautz, Dieter, 2020. "The role of long-term inflation expectations for the transmission of monetary policy shocks," Discussion Papers 2020/19, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    14. Ciccarelli, Matteo & García, Juan Angel, 2021. "Expectation spillovers and the return of inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 209(C).
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    18. Gross, Marco, 2022. "Beautiful cycles: A theory and a model implying a curious role for interest," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
    19. Yoshibumi Makabe & Yoshihiko Norimasa, 2022. "The Term Structure of Inflation at Risk: A Panel Quantile Regression Approach," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 22-E-4, Bank of Japan.
    20. Diegel, Max & Nautz, Dieter, 2021. "Long-term inflation expectations and the transmission of monetary policy shocks: Evidence from a SVAR analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    21. Koester, Gerrit & Lis, Eliza & Nickel, Christiane & Osbat, Chiara & Smets, Frank, 2021. "Understanding low inflation in the euro area from 2013 to 2019: cyclical and structural drivers," Occasional Paper Series 280, European Central Bank.
    22. Antonio M. Conti & Andrea Nobili, 2019. "Wages and prices in the euro area: exploring the nexus," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 518, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    euro area; inflation; labor costs; pass-through; structural VAR;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • 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

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