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Asymmetries and Rigidities in Wage Adjustments by Firms

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  • Harry J. Holzer
  • Edward B. Montgomery

Abstract

In this paper we use micro data from the Employment Opportunity Pilot Project (EOPP) surveys of firms in 1980 and 1982 to test for labor market rigidities and asymmetries in response to demand shifts. We analyze wage and employment adjustments to positive and negative shifts, as measured by sales growth between 1979 and 1981. The analysis is done for both entire sample of firms and for selected subsamples based on firm size, unionization, industry and skill mix. The results show that wage adjustments appear to be fairly rigid, compared with employment adjustments. They also appear to be quite asymmetric, with significant adjustments in response to positive shifts but little adjustment in response to negative shifts. These asymmetries are not more pronounced in large firms, manufacturing, heavily-waged or highly-skilled industries than in other firms or industries. In contrast, employment adjustments show no consistent pattern of asymmetry.

Suggested Citation

  • Harry J. Holzer & Edward B. Montgomery, 1990. "Asymmetries and Rigidities in Wage Adjustments by Firms," NBER Working Papers 3274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3274
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    Cited by:

    1. Victoria V. Dobrynskaya, 2008. "The Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy of the Central Bank of Russia under Asymmetrical Price Rigidity," Journal of Innovation Economics, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 29-62.
    2. Lin, Chung-cheng & Yang, C.C., 2008. "The firm as a community explaining asymmetric behavior and downward rigidity of wages," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 390-400, November.
    3. Greenwood, Michael J. & Hunt, Gary L. & Kohli, Ulrich, 1997. "The factor-market consequences of unskilled immigration to the United States," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, March.
    4. Chung-cheng Lin & C.C. Yang, 2006. "Receiprocity and Downward Wage Rigidity," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 06-A015, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
    5. Anabela Carneiro & Pedro Portugal, 2008. "Market power, dismissal threat, and rent sharing: The role of insider and outsider forces in wage bargaining," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 30-47, March.
    6. Arestis, Philip & Mariscal, Iris Biefang-Frisancho, 1998. "Capital shortages and asymmetries in UK unemployment," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 189-204, June.
    7. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2016. "Wage Flexibility and Employment Fluctuations: Evidence from the Housing Sector," NBER Working Papers 22496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1996. "Macro- and microeconomic consequences of wage rigidity," Working Paper 9607, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    9. Blanchflower, David G, 1991. "Fear, Unemployment and Pay Flexibility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(406), pages 483-496, May.
    10. Lucia Foster, 1999. "Employment Adjustment Costs and Establishment Characteristics," Working Papers 99-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    11. Miguel Portela & Ana Rute Cardoso, 2005. "The provision of wage insurance by the firm: evidence from a longitudinal matched employer-employee dataset," NIPE Working Papers 17/2005, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    12. Ana Rute Cardoso & Miguel Portela, 2009. "Micro Foundations for Wage Flexibility: Wage Insurance at the Firm Level," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(1), pages 29-50, March.
    13. Santoro, Emiliano & Petrella, Ivan & Pfajfar, Damjan & Gaffeo, Edoardo, 2014. "Loss aversion and the asymmetric transmission of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 19-36.
    14. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1994. "The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?," Working Paper 9418, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    15. Antonia López-Villavicencio & Valérie Mignon, 2013. "Nonlinearity of the inflation-output trade-off and time-varying price rigidity," Working Papers 2013-02, CEPII research center.
    16. Cabrales, Antonio & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 1997. "Nash bargaining with downward rigid wages," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 213-218, December.
    17. Lin, Chung-Cheng & Yang, C.C., 2010. "Reciprocity and downward wage rigidity," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1155-1168, December.
    18. Supreet Kaur, 2014. "Nominal Wage Rigidity in Village Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 20770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Chung-cheng Lin & C.C. Yang, 2006. "The Firm as a Community Explaining Asymmetric Behavior and Downward Rigidity of Wages," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 06-A014, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
    20. Dobrynskaya, V.V., 2008. "Asymmetric price rigidity and the optimal interest rate defense of the exchange rate: Some evidence for the US," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 713-724.

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