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The margins of labour cost adjustment : Survey evidence from European firms

Listed author(s):
  • Jan Babecky

    ()

    (Czech National Bank)

  • Philip Du Caju

    ()

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

  • Theodora Kosma

    ()

    (Bank of Greece)

  • Martina Lawless

    ()

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)

  • Julian Messina

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Tairi Room

    ()

    (Bank of Estonia)

Registered author(s):

    Firms have multiple options at the time of adjusting their wage bills. However, previous literature has mainly focused on base wages. We broaden the analysis beyond downward rigidity in base wages by investigating the use of other margins of labour cost adjustment at the firm level. Using data from a unique survey, we find that firms make frequent use of other, more flexible, components of compensation to adjust the cost of labour. Changes in bonuses and non-pay benefits are some of the potential margins firms use to reduce costs. We also show how the margins of adjustment chosen are affected by firm and worker characteristics

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    File URL: https://www.nbb.be/doc/oc/repec/reswpp/wp183en.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bank of Belgium in its series Working Paper Research with number 183.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2009
    Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:200911-24
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    1. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie E. Ward, 2007. "How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 195-214, Spring.
    2. Holden Steinar & Wulfsberg Fredrik, 2008. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the OECD," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-50, April.
    3. Lorenz Goette & Uwe Sunde & Thomas Bauer, 2007. "Wage Rigidity: Measurement, Causes and Consequences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 499-507, November.
    4. Philip Ducaju & Erwan Gautier & Daphné Momferatou & Mélanie Ward-Warmedinge, 2008. "Institutional features of wage bargaining in 23 European countries, the US and Japan," Working Paper Research 154, National Bank of Belgium.
    5. Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Economic Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
    7. Philip Du Caju & Erwan Gautier & Daphne Momferatu & Melanie Ward-Warmedinger, 2009. "Institutional Features of Wage Bargaining in 23 European Countries, the US and Japan," Ekonomia, Cyprus Economic Society and University of Cyprus, vol. 12(2), pages 57-108, Winter.
    8. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2003. "Labour Demand in Germany: An Assessment of Non- Wage Labour Costs," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 154, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    9. Holden Steinar & Wulfsberg Fredrik, 2008. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the OECD," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-50, April.
    10. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
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