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How Prevalent Is Downward Rigidity in Nominal Wages? Evidence from Payroll Records in Washington State

Author

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  • Jardim, Ekaterina

    (Amazon)

  • Solon, Gary

    () (University of Michigan)

  • Vigdor, Jacob

    () (University of Washington)

Abstract

For more than 80 years, many macroeconomic analyses have been premised on the assumption that workers' nominal wage rates cannot be cut. The U.S. evidence on this assumption has been inconclusive because of distortions from reporting error in household surveys. Following a British literature, we reconsider the issue with more accurate wage data from the payroll records of most employers in the State of Washington over the period 2005-2015. For every one of the 40 four-quarters-apart periods for which we observe year-to-year wage changes, we find that at least 20 percent of job stayers experience nominal wage reductions.

Suggested Citation

  • Jardim, Ekaterina & Solon, Gary & Vigdor, Jacob, 2019. "How Prevalent Is Downward Rigidity in Nominal Wages? Evidence from Payroll Records in Washington State," IZA Discussion Papers 12124, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12124
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1-9.
    2. André Kurmann & Erika McEntarfer, 2019. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the United States: New Evidence from Worker-Firm Linked Data," Working Papers 19-07, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Lebow David E & Saks Raven E & Wilson Beth Anne, 2003. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: Evidence from the Employment Cost Index," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, October.
    4. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2003. "Nominal wage rigidity and the rate of inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 762-781, October.
    5. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2016. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity, Currency Pegs, and Involuntary Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(5), pages 1466-1514.
    6. Barro, Robert J., 1977. "Long-term contracting, sticky prices, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 305-316, July.
    7. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martin Uribe, 2013. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity and the Case for Temporary Inflation in the Eurozone," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 193-212, Summer.
    8. Michael W. L. Elsby & Donggyun Shin & Gary Solon, 2016. "Wage Adjustment in the Great Recession and Other Downturns: Evidence from the United States and Great Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 249-291.
    9. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00702 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. repec:aea:jecper:v:33:y:2019:i:3:p:185-201 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Michael W. L. Elsby & Gary Solon, 2019. "How Prevalent Is Downward Rigidity in Nominal Wages? International Evidence from Payroll Records and Pay Slips," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 185-201, Summer.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    nominal wage rigidity; payroll records;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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