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Wage formation under low inflation

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This paper reviews the literature on the effects of low steady-state inflation on wage formation, focusing on four different effects. First, under low inflation, downward nominal wage rigidity (DNWR) may prevent real wage cuts that would have happened had inflation been higher. Second, wages (and prices) are given in nominal contracts, and inflation affects both how often wages are adjusted, and to what extent wages are set in a forward-looking manner. Third, incomplete labour contracts may provide workers with scope for inflicting costs on the firm without violating the contract, thus forcing the firm to accept a rise in nominal wages. Fourth, if effort depends on wages relative to a reference level, and workers and firms underweight inflation when updating the reference level, positive but moderate inflation may reduce wage pressure. The paper ends by a brief survey of empirical evidence, and a discussion of whether labour markets may adapt to a low inflation environment.

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  • Holden, Steinar, 2004. "Wage formation under low inflation," Memorandum 09/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2004_009
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    Cited by:

    1. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie E. Ward, 2007. "How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 195-214, Spring.
    2. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie Ward, 2006. "The interaction of labor markets and inflation: analysis of micro data from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    3. Franco Mariuzzo & Patrick Paul Walsh & Ciara Whelan, 2004. "EU Merger Control in Differentiated Product Industries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1312, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "Are real wages rigid downwards?," Working Paper 2007/01, Norges Bank.
    5. Böckerman, Petri & Laaksonen, Seppo & Vainiomäki, Jari, 2006. "Micro-level evidence on wage rigidities in Finland," MPRA Paper 1811, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "How strong is the case for downward real wage rigidity?," Working Papers 07-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    7. Orietta DESSY, 2005. "Nominal wage rigidity in Europe: estimates and institutional causes," Departmental Working Papers 2005-09, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    8. Fuss, Catherine & Wintr, Ladislav & Du Caju, Philip, 2007. "Downward wage rigidity for different workers and firms: an evaluation for Belgium using the IWFP procedure," Working Paper Series 840, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage formation; low inflation;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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