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

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.

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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1999:2.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 04 Mar 1999
Date of revision: 21 Apr 1999
Publication status: Published in Deflation. Current and historical perspectives., Burdekin, Richard, Siklos, Pierre (eds.), 2004, chapter 4, pages 91-130, Cambridge University Press.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:1999_002
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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  1. 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 1169-85, July.
  2. Bernanke, Ben S & Carey, Kevin, 1996. "Nominal Wage Stickiness and Aggregate Supply in the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 853-83, August.
  3. Bhaskar, V, 1990. "Wage Relativities and the Natural Range of Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(400), pages 60-66, Supplemen.
  4. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. 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.
  7. Ben S. Bernanke, 1994. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," NBER Working Papers 4814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  9. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  10. Taylor, John B, 1983. "Union Wage Settlements during a Disinflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 981-93, December.
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