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Determinants of Inflation in the Euro Area; The Role of Labor and Product Market Institutions

  • Hanan Morsy
  • Florence Jaumotte

While inflation differentials in a monetary union can be benign, reflecting a catch-up process, or an adjustment mechanism to asymmetric shocks or different business cycles, they may also indicate distortions related to inefficiencies in domestic product and labor markets that amplify or make more persistent the impact of shocks on inflation. The paper examines the determinants of inflation differentials in the euro area, with emphasis on the role of country specific labor and product market institutions. The analysis uses a traditional backward-looking Phillips curve equation and augments it to explore the role of collective bargaining systems, union density, employment protection, and product market regulation. The model is estimated over a panel dataset of 10 euro area countries over the period 1983-2007. Results show that high employment protection, intermediate coordination of collective bargaining, and high union density increase the persistence of inflation. Oil and raw materials price shocks are also more likely to be accommodated by wage increases when the degree of coordination in collective bargaining is intermediate. These results are robust to different estimation methods, model specifications, and outliers. The paper suggests that reforming labor market institutions may improve the functioning of the euro area by reducing the risk of persistent inflation differentials.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/37.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/37
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  1. Guenter W. Beck & Kirstin Hubrich & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2009. "Regional inflation dynamics within and across euro area countries and a comparison with the United States," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 141-184, 01.
  2. Andrés, Javier & Ortega, Eva & Vallés, Javier, 2008. "Competition and inflation differentials in EMU," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 848-874, March.
  3. Pietro Biroli & Gilles Mourre & Alessandro Turrini, 2010. "Adjustment in the Euro Area and Regulation of Product and Labour Markets: An Empirical Assessment," European Economy - Economic Papers 428, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  4. Pau Rabanal, 2009. "Inflation Differentials between Spain and the EMU: A DSGE Perspective," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1141-1166, 09.
  5. Andrew Levin & Jeremy Piger, 2003. "Is Inflation Persistence Intrinsic in Industrial Economies?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 298, Society for Computational Economics.
  6. Nunziata, Luca & Bowdler, Christopher, 2005. "Inflation Adjustment and Labour Market Structures: Evidence from a Multi-Country Study," IZA Discussion Papers 1510, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Jan Marc Berk & Job Swank, 2002. "Regional Price Adjustment in a Monetary Union the Case of EMU," MEB Series (discontinued) 2002-7, Netherlands Central Bank, Monetary and Economic Policy Department.
  8. Ester Faia & Alessia Campolmi, 2005. "Inflation Differentials and Different Labor Market Institutions in the EMU," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 80, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  9. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2009. "Unemployment, institutions, and reform complementarities: re-assessing the aggregate evidence for OECD countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 40-59, Spring.
  10. Philippe Aghion & Nicholas Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2002. "Competition and innovation: an inverted U relationship," IFS Working Papers W02/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Ivo Arnold & Bastiaan Verhoef, 2004. "External causes of Euro zone inflation differentials," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 39(5), pages 254-263, September.
  12. Emil Stavrev, 2007. "Growth and Inflation Dispersions in EMU; Reasons, the Role of Adjustment Channels, and Policy Implications," IMF Working Papers 07/167, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Angeloni Ignazio & Ehrmann Michael, 2007. "Euro Area Inflation Differentials," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-36, August.
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