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Wages, Implicit Contracts, and the Business Cycle: Evidence from a European Panel

  • BELLOU Andriana
  • KAYMAK Baris

This paper examines the cyclical behavior of hours and wages in a unique panel of 11 European countries, and documents signi?cant history dependence in wages. Workers who experience favorable market conditions during their tenure on the job, have higher wages, and work fewer labor hours. Unobserved differences in productivity, such as varying job quality, or match-speci?c productivity are not likely to explain this variation. The results instead point to the importance of contractual arrangements in wage determination. In economies with decentralized bargaining practices, such arrangements resemble self-enforcing insurance contracts with onesided commitment (by the employer). On the other hand, in countries with strong unions and centralized wage bargaining, wage behavior is better approximated by full-commitment insurance contracts.

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Paper provided by LISER in its series LISER Working Paper Series with number 2011-13.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-13
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  1. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas & Symons, Elizabeth & Walker, Ian, 1988. "Labour supply specification and the evaluation of tax reforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 23-52, June.
  2. Rosen, Sherwin, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-75, September.
  3. Bellou, Andriana & Kaymak, Baris, 2011. "Real wage growth over the business cycle:contractual versus spot markets," MPRA Paper 30401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Ch. Pissarides., 2011. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 1.
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  7. James Ted McDonald & Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Wages, Implicit Contracts, and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Canadian Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 884-913, August.
  8. Darren Grant, 2003. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Surveys," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 393-408, April.
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  28. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  29. Marianna Kudlyak, 2010. "The cyclical price of labor when wages are smoothed," Working Paper 10-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
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  31. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
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