IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Firm as a Community Explaining Asymmetric Behavior and Downward Rigidity of Wages

This paper models the firm as a community à la Akerlof (1980) to account for asymmetric behavior, and in particular, downward rigidity of wages. It is shown that, through social interaction among workers in the firm community, wage cuts can give rise to a large, discontinuous fall in labor productivity (known as “catastrophe”). Furthermore, this large fall in labor productivity will persist or display inertia (known as “hysteresis”) even if the wages are restored to the pre-cut level and beyond. Our catastrophe/hysteresis finding with respect to wage cuts can rationalize the downward rigidity of wage behavior, and is consistent with the interview evidence of fragile worker morale emphasized by Bewley (1999) and others in explaining why employers are sensitive to and refrain from cutting worker pay.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan in its series IEAS Working Paper : academic research with number 06-A014.

in new window

Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sin:wpaper:06-a014
Contact details of provider: Phone: 886-2-27822791
Fax: 886-2-27853946
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Albrecht, James W & Vroman, Susan B, 1998. "Nash Equilibrium Efficiency Wage Distributions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 183-203, February.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:98:y:1983:i:3:p:23-54 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Holzer, Harry J & Montgomery, Edward B, 1993. "Asymmetries and Rigidities in Wage Adjustments by Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 397-408, August.
  4. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  5. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
  6. Summers, Lawrence H. & Dickens, William T. & Katz, Lawrence F. & Lang, Kevin, 1989. "Employee Crime and the Monitoring Puzzle," Scholarly Articles 3645199, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Implementation theory," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 61, pages 2271-2326 Elsevier.
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. " Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 295-307, June.
  11. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  12. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
  13. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-1015.
  14. Strand, Jon, 1987. "Unemployment as a Discipline Device with Heterogeneous Labor [Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 489-93, June.
  15. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
  16. Peter Howitt, 2002. "Looking Inside the Labor Market: A Review Article," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 125-138, March.
  17. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1987. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: An Insider-Outsider Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 196, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Bewley, Truman F., 1998. "Why not cut pay?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 459-490, May.
  19. Eldar Shafir & Peter Diamond & Amos Tversky, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-374.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sin:wpaper:06-a014. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (HsiaoyunLiu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.