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Endogenous Wage Rigidity

We use a random survey of Swedish human resource managers to study the reasons for wage rigidity. Our findings are as follows. First, during the exceptional recession of the 1990s only 1.1 percent of workers received a wage cut. Second, much wage rigidity can be traced to behavioral mechanisms involving negative reciprocity, relative wage comparisons and money illusion. Third, the reasons for wage rigidity differ significantly between large and small establishments, and between the high- and low-end of the labor market. Fourth, there are significant empirical complementarities between efficiency wage mechanisms and worker bargaining strength, and between “exogenous” institutions and endogenous sources of wage rigidity. Fifth, external pay comparisons are a more important source of rigidity in highly unionized establishments. Sixth, there are significant gender differences in pay bargaining and work moral.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2003:10.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 21 Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2003_0010
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, . "Does Money Illusion Matter?," IEW - Working Papers 012, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  4. Agell, J. & Lundborg, P., 1992. "Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Papers 1993-8, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
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  7. Louis N. Christofides & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Wage Rigidity in Canadian Collective Bargaining Agreements," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 429-448, April.
  8. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2002. "Discrimination by Gender and Social Distance," Research Papers in Economics 2002:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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  10. Agell, Jonas & Bennmarker, Helge, 2002. "Wage policy and endogenous wage rigidity: a representative view from the inside," Working Paper Series 2002:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  11. Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, . "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  12. Shafir, Eldar & Diamond, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-74, May.
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  14. Albaek, Karsten & Arai, Mahmood & Asplund, Rita & Barth, Erling & Strojer Madsen, Erik, 1998. "Measuring wage effects of plant size," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 425-448, December.
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  17. Assar Lindbeck, 1997. "The Swedish Experiment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1273-1319, September.
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  19. Calmfors, Lars & Forslund, Anders & Hemström, Maria, 2002. "Does active labour market policy work? Lessons from the Swedish experiences," Working Paper Series 2002:4, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  20. Bewley, Truman F., 1998. "Why not cut pay?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 459-490, May.
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  22. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 1999. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 106-134, February.
  23. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  24. Holden, Steinar, 1994. "Wage bargaining and nominal rigidities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1021-1039, May.
  25. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203, April.
  26. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  27. Steinar Holden, 2002. "The Costs of Price Stability - Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe," NBER Working Papers 8865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1989. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," NBER Working Papers 3105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  30. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  31. Holden, S., 1998. "Wage Drift and the Relevance of Centralised Wage Setting," Memorandum 04/1998, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  32. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  33. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
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