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The Post-Crisis Phillips Curve: A New Empirical Relationship between Wage and Inflation

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  • Voinea, Liviu

Abstract

In this paper we test a new empirical relationship between wage and inflation. We introduce the concept of a cumulative wage gap, meaning the cumulative gap between the current wage and a maximum peak wage value in the past. In a crisis, people relate to their peak gains in the immediate past. We assume that people judge their consumption decisions based on the relation between their current wages and their past wages, adjusted for inflation. We call this the post-crisis Phillips Curve. The shape of the post-crisis Phillips Curve expresses the theoretical assumption that the inflation rate stays below its target until the cumulative real wage gap closes, and that it increases above its target when the cumulative real wage gap becomes positive. We test our hypothesis using data for 35 OECD countries for the period 1990-2017. We are able to confirm our hypothesis, as the coefficients have the expected sign and are statistically significant for the OECD panel as well as for most of the individual countries. We also find a break in the slope of the curve, as the coefficients are higher after the cumulative wage gap closes.

Suggested Citation

  • Voinea, Liviu, 2019. "The Post-Crisis Phillips Curve: A New Empirical Relationship between Wage and Inflation," GLO Discussion Paper Series 303, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:303
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters,in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jordi Galí, 2011. "The Return Of The Wage Phillips Curve," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 436-461, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Robert J. Gordon, 2013. "The Phillips Curve is Alive and Well: Inflation and the NAIRU During the Slow Recovery," NBER Working Papers 19390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1.
    6. Ali Alichi, 2015. "A New Methodology for Estimating the Output Gap in the United States," IMF Working Papers 15/144, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Robert J. Gordon, 1977. "Can the Inflation of the 1970s be Explained?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 253-279.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage; cumulative wage gap; inflation; Phillips Curve; monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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