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Relative wage setting, contracts and unemployment during the deflations of 1920-22 and 1931-34 in Sweden

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Abstract

Recent research on the Great Depression has concluded that a worldwide decline in aggregate demand, emanating from the United States, was propagated into a fall in real activity through sticky nominal wages. The question remains: Why were nominal wages so sticky? I examine two hypotheses based on relative wage setting. Based on a wide range of evidence for Sweden, I argue that the 1920-22 depression is compatible with the staggered wage contract model and the 1930s depression with the co-ordination failure model.

Suggested Citation

  • Fregert, Klas, 1999. "Relative wage setting, contracts and unemployment during the deflations of 1920-22 and 1931-34 in Sweden," Working Papers 1999:2, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 21 Apr 1999.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:1999_002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
    2. Fair, Ray C & Taylor, John B, 1983. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1169-1185, July.
    3. Ben S. Bernanke & Kevin Carey, 1996. "Nominal Wage Stickiness and Aggregate Supply in the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 5439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
    5. Christopher J. Erceg & Michael D. Bordo & Charles L. Evans, 2000. "Money, Sticky Wages, and the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1447-1463, December.
    6. Taylor, John B, 1983. "Union Wage Settlements during a Disinflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 981-993, December.
    7. Bernanke, Ben S, 1995. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 1-28, February.
    8. Bhaskar, V, 1990. "Wage Relativities and the Natural Range of Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(400), pages 60-66, Supplemen.
    9. Robert J. Flanagan, 1976. "Wage Interdependence in Unionized Labor Markets," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(3), pages 635-682.
    10. Ben S. Bernanke & Kevin Carey, 1996. "Nominal Wage Stickiness and Aggregate Supply in the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 853-883.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage contracts; Fischer-Taylor model; unemployment; Sweden; Depression; relative wage setting;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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