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Unexpected Inflation, Real Wages, and Employment Determination in Union Contracts

Listed author(s):
  • David Card

    (Princeton University)

This paper presents new evidence on the relevance of nominal contracting models for employment determination in long term union contracts. A key aspect of these contracts, much emphasized in the macroeconomics literature, is the predetermined nature of nominal wages. Real wage rates therefore contain unanticipated components that reflect unexpected changes in prices and the degree of indexation in the contract. The empirical analysis, based on a sample of 1300 indexed and non-indexed contracts from the Canadian manufacturing sector, indicates that unexpected real wage changes are associated with systematic employment responses in the opposite direction. I conclude that nominal contracting provisions play a potentially important role in the cyclical properties and persistence of employment in the union sector.

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File URL: http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/handle/88435/dsp01cv43nw81x
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 612.

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Date of creation: May 1988
Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:232
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  1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," Working papers 427, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. David Card, 1988. "Strikes and Wages: A Test of a Signalling Model," NBER Working Papers 2550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. repec:fth:prinin:222 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 1635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  6. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1988. "Estimating Vector Autoregressions with Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1371-1395, November.
  7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
  8. Louis N. Christofides & Andrew J. Oswald, 1991. "Efficient and Inefficient Employment Outcomes: A Study Based on Canadian Data," NBER Working Papers 3648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  10. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
  11. John M. Abowd, 1987. "Collective Bargaining and the Division of the Value of the Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 2137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. repec:fth:prinin:218 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. repec:pri:indrel:dsp016t053f988 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Whitney Newey & Harvey Rosen, 1987. "Wages and Hours: Estimating Vector Autoregressions with Panel Data," Working Papers 602, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Phelps, Edmund S & Taylor, John B, 1977. "Stabilizing Powers of Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 163-190, February.
  16. Geary, Patrick T & Kennan, John, 1982. "The Employment-Real Wage Relationship: An International Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 854-871, August.
  17. Kennan, John, 1988. "An Econometric Analysis of Fluctuations in Aggregate Labor Supply and Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 317-333, March.
  18. repec:pri:indrel:dsp0105741r70t is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Whitney K. Newey & Harvey S. Rosen, 1987. "The Revenues-Expenditures Nexus: Evidence from Local Government Data," NBER Working Papers 2180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Brown, James N & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1986. "Testing the Efficiency of Employment Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 40-87, June.
  21. L Christofides & A Oswald, 1991. "Efficient and Inefficient Employment Outcomes: A Study Based on Canadian Contract Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp0041, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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