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The Wage Curve

  • David G. Blanchflower
  • Andrew J. Oswald

This paper, which follows in an LSE tradition begun by Phillips and Sargan, examines the role of unemployment in shaping pay. In contrast to most of the literature, it 1) uses microeconometric data on individuals and workplaces 2) examines a variety of data sets as a check on the robustness of results, and 3) studies the effects of unemployment on the real wage level (not on the rate of change of pay or prices) . The paper finds evidence - on British and US data - of a wage curve. The curve has a negative gradient at low levels of unemployment, but becomes horizontal at relatively high levels of unemployment.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3181.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3181.

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Date of creation: Nov 1989
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 92, No. 2, pp. 215-235, 1990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3181
Note: LS
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  1. Paldam, Martin, 1980. " The International Element in the Phillips Curve," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 82(2), pages 216-39.
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  4. Topel, Robert H, 1986. "Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S111-43, June.
  5. L Christofides & A Oswald, 1991. "Real Wage Determination and Rent-Sharing in Collective Bargaining Agreements," CEP Discussion Papers dp0042, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Alan Carruth & Andrew Oswald, 1984. "Miners' Wages in Post-War Britain: An Application of a Model of Trade Union Behavior," Working Papers 558, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Rowlatt, Penelope A, 1987. "A Model of Wage Bargaining," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(4), pages 347-72, November.
  8. Christofides, Louis N & Swidinsky, Robert & Wilton, David A, 1980. "A Microeconometric Analysis of the Canadian Wage Determination Process," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(186), pages 165-78, May.
  9. Oswald, Andrew J, 1982. "The Microeconomic Theory of the Trade Union," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 576-95, September.
  10. Grubb, David B, 1986. "Topics in the OECD Phillips Curve," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(381), pages 55-79, March.
  11. Holmlund, B. & Skedinger, P., 1988. "Wage Bargaining And Wage Drift: Evidence From Swedish Wood Industry," Papers 1988g, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  12. Laidler, David E W & Parkin, J Michael, 1975. "Inflation: A Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 85(340), pages 741-809, December.
  13. Hersoug, Tor & Kjaer, Knut N & Rodseth, Asbjorn, 1986. "Wages, Taxes and the Utility-Maximizing Trade Union: A Confrontationwith Norwegian Data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 403-23, November.
  14. Card, David, 1990. "Unexpected Inflation, Real Wages, and Employment Determination in Union Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 669-88, September.
  15. Rod Cross, 2000. "Hysteresis and Emu," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 367-379, November.
  16. Pencavel, John H, 1984. "The Tradeoff between Wages and Employment in Trade Union Objectives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 215-31, May.
  17. Beckerman, Wilfred & Jenkinson, Tim, 1986. "What Stopped the Inflation? Unemployment of Commodity Prices?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(381), pages 39-54, March.
  18. Marston, Stephen T, 1985. "Two Views of the Geographic Distribution of Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 57-79, February.
  19. Blackaby, D H & Manning, D N, 1987. "Regional Earnings Revisited," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 55(2), pages 158-83, June.
  20. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
  21. Louis N. Christofides & Andrew J. Oswald, 1989. "Real Wage Determinatioan in Collective BArgaining Agreements," NBER Working Papers 3188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Wadhwani, Sushil B, 1985. "Wage Inflation in the United Kingdom," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 52(206), pages 195-207, May.
  23. Farber, Henry S, 1978. "Individual Preferences and Union Wage Determination: The Case of the United Mine Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 923-42, October.
  24. Manning, Alan, 1990. "Imperfect Competition, Multiple Equilibria and Unemployment Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(400), pages 151-62, Supplemen.
  25. W. Rayack, 1987. "Sources and Centers of Cyclical Movement in Real Wages: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 10(1), pages 3-21, October.
  26. Freeman, Richard B, 1988. "Evaluating the European View that the United States Has No Unemployment Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 294-99, May.
  27. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  28. Gilbert, C L, 1976. "The Original Phillips Curve Estimates," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(169), pages 51-57, February.
  29. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen, 1986. "Unemployment in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S121-69, Supplemen.
  30. Nickell, Stephen & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1988. "Unions, wages and employment : Tests based on U.K. firm-level data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 727-733, March.
  31. Mcconnell, S., 1988. "Strikes, Wages And Private Information," Papers 10, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  32. Holly, Sean & Smith, Peter, 1987. "A Two-Sector Analysis of the UK Labour Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 79-102, February.
  33. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  34. Holmlund, B. & Skedinger, P., 1988. "Wage Bargaining And Wage Drift: Evidence From The Swedish Wood Industry," Papers 419, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  35. Hoel, Michael & Nymoen, Ragnar, 1988. "Wage formation in norwegian manufacturing: An empirical application of a theoretical bargaining model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 977-997, April.
  36. Nickell, Stephen J, 1987. "Why Is Wage Inflation in Britain So High?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 103-28, February.
  37. Anderson, T.M. & Risager, O., 1988. "Wage Formation In Denmark," Papers 414, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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