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

  • Ana Maria 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, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4347.

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Date of creation: Aug 2003
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4347
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  2. 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.
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  4. 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.
  5. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
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  9. 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.
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  15. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  16. Charles Wyplosz, 2001. "Do we know how low inflation should be?," IHEID Working Papers 06-2001, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  17. 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.
  18. Guillermo Calvo & Frederic S. Mishkin, 2003. "The Mirage of Exchange Rate Regimes for Emerging Market Countries," NBER Working Papers 9808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
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  21. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-72, June.
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