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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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    2. Brand, Claus & Obstbaum, Meri & Coenen, Günter & Sondermann, David & Lydon, Reamonn & Ajevskis, Viktors & Hammermann, Felix & Angino, Siria & Hernborg, Nils & Basso, Henrique & Hertweck, Matthias & Bi, 2021. "Employment and the conduct of monetary policy in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 275, European Central Bank.
    3. Petia Topalova & Mr. Volodymyr Tulin & Sylwia Nowak & Raju Huidrom & Mr. Richard Varghese & Vizhdan Boranova, 2019. "Wage Growth and Inflation in Europe: A Puzzle?," IMF Working Papers 2019/280, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Byrne, David & Parle, Conor, 2019. "Euro Area Slowdown - a Country-Sector Analysis," Quarterly Bulletin Articles, Central Bank of Ireland, pages 149-163, July.
    5. Acharya, Viral V. & Crosignani, Matteo & Eisert, Tim & Eufinger, Christian, 2020. "Zombie Credit and (Dis-)Inflation: Evidence from Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 14960, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    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. 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).
    10. 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.
    11. Byrne, David & Zekaite, Zivile, 2019. "Euro area longer-term inflation expectations revisited," Economic Letters 12/EL/19, Central Bank of Ireland.
    12. Antonia Díaz & Luis A. Puch, 2021. "EU After COVID-19: An Opportunity for Policy Coordination," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 56(4), pages 197-200, July.
    13. Hahn, Elke, 2020. "The wage-price pass-through in the euro area: does the growth regime matter?," Working Paper Series 2485, European Central Bank.
    14. Kouvavas, Omiros & Osbat, Chiara & Reinelt, Timo & Vansteenkiste, Isabel, 2021. "Markups and inflation cyclicality in the euro area," Working Paper Series 2617, European Central Bank.

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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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