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Real wages in the business cycle: an unresolved conflict between theory and facts in mainstream macroeconomics

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  • Stirati, Antonella

Abstract

The focus of this paper is the recurring tension between mainstream macroeconomics and observed facts in connection with the difficult task of providing explanations of the business cycle consistent both with the traditional theory of income distribution and with the empirical evidence concerning the co-movements of real wages and employment over the cycle. The attempts to reconcile facts and theory have led to the continuous introduction of specific and arguably ad hoc hypotheses, in contrast with the search for greater theoretical rigour claimed by the various streams of macroeconomic modelling subsequent to the neo-classical synthesis. In addition, the specific assumptions introduced in the models, or their implications, are in turn often contradicted or, at best, not confirmed by subsequent empirical research. It is suggested in the conclusions that the difficulty of keeping together in a simple and consistent framework theory and facts reflects the flawed theoretical foundations of mainstream theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Stirati, Antonella, 2014. "Real wages in the business cycle: an unresolved conflict between theory and facts in mainstream macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 53743, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53743
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    real wages in the business cycle; macroeconomic models;

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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