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Wage-productivity gap in OECD economies

  • Elgin, Ceyhun
  • Kuzubas, Tolga Umut

The Walrasian theory of labor market equilibrium predicts that in the absence of any market frictions, workers earn a wage rate equal to their marginal productivity. However, this observation is not supported empirically for various economies. Based on the neoclassical tradition, the ratio of the marginal product of labor to real wages is generally defined as the Pigouvian exploitation rate. In this paper, the authors calculate this specific wage-productivity gap for the manufacturing sector in OECD economies and investigate its relation to the unemployment rate along with other variables such as government taxation, capital expansion, unionization, inflation. The authors find that the wage productivity gap gives a robust and significantly positive response to shocks to the unemployment rate and negative response to shocks to unionization.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2013-18.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:201318
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  1. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2008. "Labor Markets and Monetary Policy: A New-Keynesian Model with Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja) & Madsen, Jakob B., 2004. "Unemployment in the OECD: Models and Mysteries," IZA Discussion Papers 1168, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gordon, Robert J, 1995. "Is There a Trade-off between Unemployment and Productivity Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1159, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Pesaran, M.H., 2003. "A Simple Panel Unit Root Test in the Presence of Cross Section Dependence," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0346, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Ceyhun Elgin & Tolga Umut Kuzubas, 2012. "Wage-Productivity Gap in Turkish Manufacturing Sector," Working Papers 2012/03, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
  9. Persky, Joseph & Tsang, Herbert, 1974. "Pigouvian Exploitation of Labor," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 52-57, February.
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  12. Giovanni Sulis, 2008. "Wage Dispersion and Equilibrium Search Models: Some Evidence from Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(4), pages 593-627, December.
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  14. L. Vanessa Smith & Stephen Leybourne & Tae-Hwan Kim & Paul Newbold, 2004. "More powerful panel data unit root tests with an application to mean reversion in real exchange rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 147-170.
  15. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  16. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  17. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  18. Antonia López‐Villavicencio & José Ignacio Silva, 2011. "Employment Protection And The Non‐Linear Relationship Between The Wage‐Productivity Gap And Unemployment," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(2), pages 200-220, 05.
  19. Madsen, Jakob Brochner, 1994. "The Real Wage Gap and Unemployment in the OECD," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(62), pages 96-106, June.
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