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Explaining Variations in Wage Curves: Theory and Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Barth, Erling

    () (Institute for Social Research)

  • Bratsberg, Bernt

    () (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Naylor, Robin A.

    () (University of Warwick, Department of Economics)

  • Raaum, Oddbjørn

    () (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper presents both theoretical analysis and econometric evidence for the United States, Great Britain and Norway on the extent to which hourly wages of different groups of workers are sensitive to local labour market conditions. We focus on differences by union status. Our theoretical framework captures both a turnover-based efficiency wage mechanism and one originating in union-firm bargaining. Under fairly general conditions, we show that wages are less sensitive to local unemployment the higher is the bargaining power of the union. In accordance with this theoretical prediction, we find that the absolute value of the elasticity of wages with respect to unemployment is higher in the nonunion sector than in the union sector for all three countries. We interpret the evidence as giving support to an efficiency wage interpretation of the wage curve.

Suggested Citation

  • Barth, Erling & Bratsberg, Bernt & Naylor, Robin A. & Raaum, Oddbjørn, 2002. "Explaining Variations in Wage Curves: Theory and Evidence," Memorandum 03/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2002_003
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    File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2002/Memo-03-2002.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michelle Gilmartin & David Learmouth & J Kim Swales & Peter McGregor & Karen Turner, 2013. "Regional Policy Spillovers: The National Impact of Demand-Side Policy in an Interregional Model of the UK Economy," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 45(4), pages 814-834, April.
    2. Roberto Bande Ramudo & Melchor Fernández Fernández & Víctor Montuenga Gómez, 2011. "Wage flexibility and local labour markets: homogeneity of the wage curve in Spain," Documentos de trabajo - Analise Economica 0044, IDEGA - Instituto Universitario de Estudios e Desenvolvemento de Galicia.
    3. Athanasios Vamvakidis, 2009. "Regional Wage Differentiation and Wage Bargaining Systems in the European Union," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 33(1), pages 73-87.
    4. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2005. "The Wage Curve Reloaded," NBER Working Papers 11338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. David Castro Lugo, 2006. "Curva salarial: una aplicación para el caso de México, 1993-2002," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 21(2), pages 233-273.
    6. Bernt Bratsberg & Erling Barth & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2006. "Local Unemployment and the Relative Wages of Immigrants: Evidence from the Current Population Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 243-263, May.
    7. García-Mainar , Inmaculada & Montuenga-Gómez , Víctor M., 2012. "Wage dynamics in Spain: evidence from individual data (1994-2001)," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 24, pages 41-58.
    8. Barth, Erling & Bratsberg, Bernt & Raaum, Oddbjørn, 2003. "Local Unemployment and the Earnings Assimilation of Immigrants in Norway," Memorandum 19/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    9. Marisa Carla Bucheli Anaya & Cecilia González Rodríguez-Villamil, 2012. "An estimation of the wage curve for Uruguay," REVISTA CUADERNOS DE ECONOMÍA, UN - RCE - CID, June.
    10. Torberg Falch & Bjarne Strøm, 2003. "Wage Bargaining and Political Strength in the Public Sector," Working Paper Series 3203, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    11. Ana Barufi & Eduardo Haddad & Peter Nijkamp, 2016. "A comprehensive analysis of the wage curve in Brazil: Non-linearities, urban size, and the spatial dimension," ERSA conference papers ersa16p279, European Regional Science Association.
    12. Sanz de Galdeano, Anna & Turunen, Jarkko, 2005. "Real wages and local unemployment in the euro area," Working Paper Series 471, European Central Bank.
    13. Victor Montuenga & Inmaculada Garcia, 2011. "The wage dynamics in Spain: evidence from individual data," ERSA conference papers ersa11p585, European Regional Science Association.
    14. Víctor M. Montuenga-Gómez & José M. Ramos-Parreño, 2005. "Reconciling the Wage Curve and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(5), pages 735-765, December.
    15. Inmaculada Garcia-Mainar & Victor Montuenga-Gomez, 2003. "The Spanish Wage Curve: 1994-1996," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(9), pages 929-945.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage curves; efficiency wages; bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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