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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. 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.
  2. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1989. "The Revenues-Expenditures Nexus: Evidence from Local Government Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 415-429, May.
  3. 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.
  4. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
  5. 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.
  6. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John Abowd, 1987. "Collective Bargaining and the Division of the Value of the Enterprise," Working Papers 598, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. repec:fth:prinin:222 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Kennan, John, 1988. "An Econometric Analysis of Fluctuations in Aggregate Labor Supply and Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 317-333, March.
  10. David Card, 1988. "Strikes and Wages: A Test of a Signalling Model," NBER Working Papers 2550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. repec:fth:prinin:218 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Rosen, Sherwin, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-1175, September.
  17. 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..
  18. 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.
  19. 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..
  20. 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.
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