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Survey evidence on wage rigidity and unemployment: Sweden in the 1990s

  • Agell, Jonas

    ()

    (IFAU - Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Lundborg, Per

    (IFAU - Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

This study reports the results from a repeat survey among managers in Swedish manufacturing, designed to explore how a severe and prolonged macroeconomic shock affects wage rigidity and unemployment. Our second survey was conducted in 1998, when the unemployment rate was much higher, and the inflation rate much lower, than when we conducted the first survey in 1991. We find no evidence that the increase in unemployment has softened the mechanisms generating wage rigidity. On the contrary, we conclude that - because of severe downward nominal wage rigidity - real wages have become more rigid during Sweden's move to a low-inflation environment. We also report a range of new evidence on underbidding, efficiency wage mechanisms, job security legislation, workers' wage norms, and to what extent the long-term unemployed are subject to statistical discrimination

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 1999:2.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 29 Jun 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2003, pages 15-29.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:1999_002
Contact details of provider: Postal:
IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
Web page: http://www.ifau.se/
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  1. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
  2. 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.
  3. Malcomson, James M., 1999. "Individual employment contracts," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 2291-2372 Elsevier.
  4. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
  5. Bewley, Truman F, 1995. "A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 250-54, May.
  6. Bewley, Truman F., 1998. "Why not cut pay?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 459-490, May.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726.
  8. 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.
  9. Calmfors, Lars, 1993. "Lessons from the macroeconomic experience of Sweden," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 25-72, March.
  10. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  11. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
  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. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 1999. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 106-134, February.
  14. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1989. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," NBER Working Papers 3105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
  16. Holden, Steinar, 1994. "Wage bargaining and nominal rigidities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1021-1039, May.
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