IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Downward nominal and real wage rigidity :survey evidence from European firms

  • Jan Babecky


  • Philip Du Caju


  • Theodora Kosma


  • Martina Lawless


  • Julian Messina


  • Tairi Rõõm


Firms have multiple options at the time of adjusting their wage bills. However, previous literature has mainly focused on base wages. We broaden the analysis beyond downward rigidity in base wages by investigating the use of other margins of labour cost adjustment at the firm level. Using data from a unique survey, we find that firms make frequent use of other, more flexible, components of compensation to adjust the cost of labour. Changes in bonuses and non-pay benefits are some of the potential margins firms use to reduce costs. We also show how the margins of adjustment chosen are affected by firm and worker characteristics

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of Estonia in its series Bank of Estonia Working Papers with number 2009-3.

in new window

Date of creation: 06 Dec 2009
Date of revision: 06 Dec 2009
Handle: RePEc:eea:boewps:wp2009-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Estonia bld. 13, 15095 Tallinn, ESTONIA
Phone: +3726680719
Fax: +3726680900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: Estonia bld. 13, 15095 Tallinn, ESTONIA

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Du Caju, Ph. & Gautier, E. & Momferatou, D. & Ward-Warmedinger, M., 2008. "Institutional features of wage bargaining in 23 European countries, the US and Japan," Working papers 228, Banque de France.
  2. Jan Babecky & Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julian Messina & Tairi Room, 2009. "Downward Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity: Survey Evidence from European Firms," Working Papers 2009/4, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
  3. Carlsson Mikael & Westermark Andreas, 2008. "Monetary Policy under Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-61, October.
  4. Holden, Steinar & Wulfsberg, Fredrik, 2007. "Downward nominal wage rigidity in the OECD," Working Paper Series 0777, European Central Bank.
  5. Paul Oyer, 2005. "Salary or Benefits?," NBER Working Papers 11817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. D. McFadden & J. Hausman, 1981. "Specification Tests for the Multinominal Logit Model," Working papers 292, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Campbell, Carl M, III, 1997. "The Variation in Wage Rigidity by Occupation and Union Status in the US," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(1), pages 133-47, February.
  8. Vermeulen, Philip, 2006. "Employment stickiness in small manufacturing firms," Working Paper Series 0640, European Central Bank.
  9. Du Caju, Philip & Fuss, Catherine & Wintr, Ladislav, 2009. "Understanding sectoral differences in downward real wage rigidity: workforce composition, institutions, technology and competition," Working Paper Series 1006, European Central Bank.
  10. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Economics Working Papers 341, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie Ward, 2007. "How wages change: micro evidence from the international wage flexibility project," Staff Reports 275, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
  13. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1999. "Survey Evidence on Wage Rigidity and Unemployment: Sweden in the 1990s," Working Paper Series 1999:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  14. Peter Howitt, 2002. "Looking Inside the Labor Market: A Review Article," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 125-138, March.
  15. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2003. "Labour Demand in Germany: An Assessment of Non-Wage Labour Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 952, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Philip Du Caju & Catherine Fuss & Ladislav Wintr, 2007. "Downward wage rigidity for different workers and firms : an evaluation for Belgium using the IWFP procedure," Working Paper Research 124, National Bank of Belgium.
  17. Lorenz Goette & Uwe Sunde & Thomas Bauer, 2007. "Wage Rigidity: Measurement, Causes and Consequences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages F499-F507, November.
  18. Stephan Fahr & Frank Smets, 2010. "Downward Wage Rigidities and Optimal Monetary Policy in a Monetary Union," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(4), pages 812-840, December.
  19. Small, Kenneth A & Hsiao, Cheng, 1985. "Multinomial Logit Specification Tests," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(3), pages 619-27, October.
  20. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, July.
  21. Carlsson, Mikael & Westermark, Andreas, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," Working Paper Series 2007:15, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  22. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  23. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Bewley, Truman, 2004. "Fairness, Reciprocity, and Wage Rigidity," IZA Discussion Papers 1137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
  26. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. " Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 295-307, June.
  27. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
  28. Oswald, Andrew J, 1986. "Unemployment Insurance and Labor Contracts under Asymmetric Information: Theory and Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 365-77, June.
  29. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
  30. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2005. "Non-Wage Labour Costs, Policy Uncertainty and Labour Demand - a Theoretical Assessment," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20511, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.
  31. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-1015.
  32. Paul J. Devereux & Joseph G. Altonji, 2000. "The extent and consequences of downward nominal wage rigidity," Open Access publications 10197/311, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  33. Steinar Holden, 2004. "The Costs of Price Stability: Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(281), pages 183-208, 05.
  34. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  35. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  36. Lebow David E & Saks Raven E & Wilson Beth Anne, 2003. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: Evidence from the Employment Cost Index," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, October.
  37. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  38. Wolfgang Franz & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2006. "Reasons for Wage Rigidity in Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 20(2), pages 255-284, 06.
  39. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  40. Masanori Hashimoto & Ben T. Yu, 1980. "Specific Capital, Employmemt Contracts, and Wage Rigidity," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 536-549, Autumn.
  41. Holden, Steinar & Wulfsberg, Fredrik, 2009. "How strong is the macroeconomic case for downward real wage rigidity?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 605-615, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eea:boewps:wp2009-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peeter Luikmel)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Peeter Luikmel to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.