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Wage Redistribution and the Long Run Phillips Curve


  • Lundborg, Per

    () (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)


We derive a long-run Phillips curve that is negatively sloped at low inflation rates. Due to exogenous changes, unions want to redistribute wages across different members also in the long run. Wage stickiness, inflation targeting and union solidarity are central characteristics of our New Keynesian model. In the model, high enough inflation becomes the grease of the economy that allows wage redistribution across unions without causing unemployment to rise above NAIRU. We show that under nominal wage rigidity, long-run unemployment may rise drastically and at zero inflation, unemployment may be trapped at very high levels even if demands for wage redistribution tapers off. Under real wage rigidity, the economy may get trapped at high unemployment also at positive but low inflation rates irrespective of demand for wage redistribution has vanished or not. Thus, a period of wage redistribution may cause an economy of full real wage rigidity to get trapped at a high unemployment rate. A policy conclusion is that economies characterized by extensive wage rigidity should not target inflation at too low levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundborg, Per, 2008. "Wage Redistribution and the Long Run Phillips Curve," Working Paper Series 3/2008, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2008_003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lundborg, Per & Sacklén, Hans, 2003. "Low-Inflation Targeting and Unemployment Persistence," Working Paper Series 188, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Paul J. Devereux, 1999. "The Extent and Consequences of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," NBER Working Papers 7236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fehr, Ernst & Goette, Lorenz, 2005. "Robustness and real consequences of nominal wage rigidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 779-804, May.
    4. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
    5. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1997. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 71-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
    8. George A. Akerlof & William T. Dickens & George L. Perry, 2000. "Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 1-60.
    9. 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.
    10. Steinar Holden, 2004. "The Costs of Price Stability: Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(281), pages 183-208, May.
    11. David E. Lebow & Raven E. Saks & Beth Anne Wilson, 1999. "Downward nominal wage rigidity: evidence from the employment cost index," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. McLaughlin, Kenneth J., 1994. "Rigid wages?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 383-414, December.
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