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Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the United States during and after the Great Recession

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Abstract

Rigidity in wages has long been thought to impede the functioning of labor markets. In this paper, we investigate the extent of downward nominal wage rigidity in US labor markets using job-level data from a nationally representative establishment-based compensation survey collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We use several distinct methods to test for downward nominal wage rigidity and to assess whether such rigidity is less or more severe in the presence of negative economic shocks than in more normal economic times. We find a significant amount of downward nominal wage rigidity in the United States and no evidence that the high degree of labor market distress during the Great Recession reduced downward nominal wage rigidity. We further find a lower degree of nominal rigidity at multi-year horizons.

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  • Bruce Fallick & Daniel Villar Vallenas & William L. Wascher, 2020. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the United States during and after the Great Recession," Working Papers 16-02R, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwq:87615
    DOI: 10.26509/frbc-wp-201602r
    Note: The first version of this paper was published in January 2016
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    Cited by:

    1. Anne Kathrin Funk & Daniel Kaufmann, 2022. "Do Sticky Wages Matter? New Evidence from Matched Firm Survey and Register Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(355), pages 689-712, July.
    2. John Grigsby & Erik Hurst & Ahu Yildirmaz, 2021. "Aggregate Nominal Wage Adjustments: New Evidence from Administrative Payroll Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(2), pages 428-471, February.
    3. Daniel Schaefer & Carl Singleton, 2023. "The Extent of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: New Evidence from Payroll Data," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 51, pages 60-76, December.
    4. Kazuma Inagaki, & Yoshiyasu Ono & Takayuki Tsuruga, 2022. "Accounting for the slowdown in output growth after the Great Recession: A wealth preference approach," ISER Discussion Paper 1174, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    5. Komarek, Timothy M. & Butts, Kyle & Wagner, Gary A., 2022. "Government Contracting, Labor Intensity, and the Local Effects of Fiscal Consolidation: Evidence from the Budget Control Act of 2011," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    6. Wataru Hirata & Toshitaka Maruyama & Tomohide Mineyama, 2020. "Flattening of the Wage Phillips Curve and Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: The Japanese Experience in the 2010s," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 20-E-4, Bank of Japan.
    7. Iwasaki, Yuto & Muto, Ichiro & Shintani, Mototsugu, 2021. "Missing wage inflation? Estimating the natural rate of unemployment in a nonlinear DSGE model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    8. Osborne Jackson, 2020. "An Approach to Predicting Regional Labor Market Effects of Economic Shocks: The COVID-19 Pandemic in New England," Current Policy Perspectives 88244, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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