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Inflation and Labor Market Flexibility: The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

  • Ana María Loboguerrero
  • Ugo Panizza

Inflation can grease the wheels of the labor market by relaxing downward wage rigidity but it can also increase uncertainty and have a negative sand effect. This paper studies the grease effect of inflation by looking at whether the interaction between inflation and labor market regulations affects how employment responds to changes in output. The results show that in industrial countries with highly regulated labor markets, the grease effect of inflation dominates the sand effect. In the case of developing countries, we rarely find a significant effect of inflation on labor market regulations and provide evidence indicating that this could be due to the presence of a large informal sector and limited enforcement of de jure labor market regulations.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications (Working Papers) with number 6513.

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Date of creation: Aug 2003
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6513
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  1. Carmen Pagés-Serra & James J. Heckman, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4119, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel & Glenda Quintini, 2001. "The Beveridge Curve, Unemployment and Wages in the OECD from the 1960s to the 1990s - Preliminary Version," CEP Discussion Papers dp0502, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
  4. 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.
  5. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  7. Erica Groshen & Mark Schweitzer, 1999. "Identifying Inflation's Grease and Sand Effects in the Labor Market," NBER Chapters, in: The Costs and Benefits of Price Stability, pages 273-314 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Charles Wyplosz, 2001. "Do we know how low inflation should be?," IHEID Working Papers 06-2001, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  10. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bertola, Giuseppe & Rogerson, Richard, 1997. "Institutions and labor reallocation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1147-1171, June.
  12. Laurence M. Ball, 1997. "Disinflation and the NAIRU," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 167-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  14. Carmen Pagés & Claudio E. Montenegro, 2007. "Job security and the age-composition of employment: evidence from Chile," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 34(2 Year 20), pages 109-139, December.
  15. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1996. "The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?," Staff Reports 9, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
  17. Guillermo A. Calvo & Frederic S. Mishkin, 2003. "The Mirage of Exchange Rate Regimes for Emerging Market Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 99-118, Fall.
  18. Peter R. Fallon & Robert E. B. Lucas, 2000. "The Impact of Financial Crises on Labor Markets, Household Incomes and Poverty: A Review of Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 103, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  19. Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  20. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-72, June.
  21. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
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