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

How selective are real wage cuts? A micro-analysis using linked employer-employee data

  • Hirsch, Boris
  • Zwick, Thomas

Using linked employer-employee panel data for Germany, this paper investigates whether firms implement real wage reductions in a selective manner. In line with insider-outsider and several strands of efficiency wage theory, we find strong evidence for selective wage cuts with high-productivity workers being spared even when controlling for permanent differences in firms' wage policies. In contrast to some recent contributions stressing fairness considerations, we also find that wage cuts increase wage dispersion among peers rather than narrowing it. Notably, the same selectivity pattern shows up when restricting our analysis to firms covered by collective agreements or having a works council.

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 Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 88.

in new window

Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:faulre:88
Contact details of provider: 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. 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.
  2. Caju, P. Du & Fuss, C. & Wintr, L., 2012. "Sectoral differences in downward real wage rigidity: workforce composition, institutions, technology and competition," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 45(1), pages 7-22.
  3. Robert A. Hart & Paul J. Devereux, 2006. "Real wage cyclicality of job stayers, within-company job movers, and between-company job movers," Open Access publications 10197/314, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. Guiso, Luigi & Pistaferri, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2001. "Insurance Within the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 2793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Flinn, Christopher J, 1986. "Wages and Job Mobility of Young Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S88-S110, June.
  6. Alda, Holger & Bender, Stefan & Gartner, Hermann, 2005. "The linked employer-employee dataset of the IAB (LIAB)," IAB Discussion Paper 200506, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  7. Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julian Messina & Tairi Rõõm, 2013. "Why firms avoid cutting wages: Survey evidence from European firms," Working Paper Research 251, National Bank of Belgium.
  8. Babecký, Jan & Du Caju, Philip & Kosma, Theodora & Lawless, Martina & Messina, Julián & Rõõm, Tairi, 2009. "Downward Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity: Survey Evidence from European Firms," Working Paper Series 1105, European Central Bank.
  9. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  10. Fehr, Ernst & Goette, Lorenz, 2005. "Robustness and real consequences of nominal wage rigidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 779-804, May.
  11. Yellen, Janet L, 1984. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 200-205, May.
  12. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2013. "Do Wage Cuts Damage Work Morale? Evidence From A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 853-870, 08.
  13. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1974. "Alternative Theories of Wage Determination and Unemployment in LDC'S: The Labor Turnover Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 194-227, May.
  14. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  15. Gartner, Hermann & Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus, 2010. "Wage cyclicality under different regimes of industrial relations," Discussion Papers 70, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  16. Malcomson, J.M., 1997. "Contracts, hold-up and labor markets," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9703, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  17. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
  18. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of Real Wages within Employer-Employee Matches," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
  19. Dustmann, Christian & Schönberg, Uta, 2004. "Training and Union Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 1435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. 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, 03.
  21. Agell, Jonas & Bennmarker, Helge, 2007. "Wage incentives and wage rigidity: A representative view from within," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 347-369, June.
  22. Lutz Bellmann & Knut Gerlach & Wolfgang Meyer, 2008. "Company-Level Pacts for Employment," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 228(5+6), pages 533-553, December.
  23. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  24. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Thomas Zwick, 2007. "German Works Councils and The Anatomy of Wages," Working Paper Series 13-07, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jul 2007.
  25. Dickens, William T. & Götte, Lorenz & Groshen, Erica L. & Holden, Steinar & Messina, Julián & Schweitzer, Mark E. & Turunen, Jarkko & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2006. "How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," IZA Discussion Papers 2487, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  27. Cornelissen, Thomas & Huebler, Oloaf, 2006. "Downward Wage Rigidity and Job Mobility," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-349, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  28. 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.
  29. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Benedikt Herrmann & Frédéric Schneider, 2011. "Social comparison in the workplace: evidence from a field experiment," ECON - Working Papers 007, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  30. Franz, Wolfgang & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2006. "Reasons for Wage Rigidity in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 2017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  31. Holger Alda & Stefan Bender & Hermann Gartner, 2005. "European Data Watch: The linked employer-employee dataset created from the IAB establishment panel and the process-produced data of the IAB (LIAB)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(2), pages 327-336.
  32. Mahmood Arai, 2003. "Wages, Profits, and Capital Intensity: Evidence from Matched Worker-Firm Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 593-618, July.
  33. Anger, Silke, 2011. "The cyclicality of effective wages within employer–employee matches in a rigid labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 786-797.
  34. 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.
  35. Petri Böckerman & Seppo Laaksonen & Jari Vainiomäki, 2003. "Who Bear the Burden of Wage Cuts? Evidence From Finland During the 1990s," Working Papers 0321, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
  36. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1989. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," NBER Working Papers 3105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Philip Du Caju & Catherine Fuss & Ladislav Wintr, 2012. "Downward Wage Regidity for Different Workers and Firms," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 55(1), pages 5-32.
  38. Christoph Knoppik & Thomas Beissinger, 2003. "How Rigid are Nominal Wages? Evidence and Implications for Germany," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(4), pages 619-641, December.
  39. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  40. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  41. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  42. Campbell, Carl M, III, 1997. "The Variation in Wage Rigidity by Occupation and Union Status in the US," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(1), pages 133-47, February.
  43. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
  44. repec:iab:iabjlr:v:45:i:1:p:7-22 is not listed on IDEAS
  45. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
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:zbw:faulre:88. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

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.