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Does downward nominal wage rigidity dampen wage increases?

  • Stüber, Heiko
  • Beissinger, Thomas

Focusing on the compression of wage cuts, many empirical studies find a high degree of downward nominal wage rigidity (DNWR). However, the resulting macroeconomic effects seem to be surprisingly weak. This contradiction can be explained within an intertemporal framework in which DNWR not only prevents nominal wage cuts but also induces firms to compress wage increases. We analyze whether a compression of wage increases occurs when DNWR is binding by applying Unconditional Quantile Regression and Seemingly Unrelated Regression to a data set comprising more than 169 million wage changes. We find evidence for a compression of wage increases and only very small effects of DNWR on average real wage growth. The results indicate that DNWR does not provide a strong argument against low inflation targets.

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Paper provided by University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID) in its series FZID Discussion Papers with number 22-2010.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fziddp:222010
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  1. Holden, Steinar, 1994. "Wage bargaining and nominal rigidities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1021-1039, May.
  2. Christofides, Louis N. & Stengos, Thanasis, 2001. "A non-parametric test of the symmetry of PSID wage-change distributions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 363-368, June.
  3. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  4. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2004. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe (new title: The costs of price stability - downward nominal wage rigidity in Europe)," CESifo Working Paper Series 1177, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Junttila, Juha, 2001. "Structural breaks, ARIMA model and Finnish inflation forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 203-230.
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  7. Cornelißen, Thomas & Hübler, Olaf & Schneck, Stefan, 2007. "Cyclical Effects on Job-to-Job Mobility: An Aggregated Analysis on Microeconomic Data," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-371, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
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  9. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-44, September.
  10. Stüber, Heiko & Beissinger, Thomas, 2012. "Does downward nominal wage rigidity dampen wage increases?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 870-887.
  11. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2004. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe," Working Paper 2004/5, Norges Bank.
  12. Knoppik, Christoph & Beissinger, Thomas, 2005. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe: An Analysis of European Micro Data from the ECHP 1994-2001," IZA Discussion Papers 1492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. 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.
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  18. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1995. "Does Inflation 'Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market'?," Working Papers 735, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  22. Andreas Behr & Ulrich Pötter, 2010. "Downward Wage Rigidity in Europe: A New Flexible Parametric Approach and Empirical Results," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 169-187, 05.
  23. Andrea Schäfer & Claudia Vogel, 2005. "Teilzeitbeschäftigung als Arbeitsmarktchance," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 72(7), pages 131-138.
  24. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
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  26. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
  27. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the OECD," CESifo Working Paper Series 2009, CESifo Group Munich.
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