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Still searching for the wage curve: evidence from Germany and Italy

  • Ammermüller, Andreas
  • Lucifora, Claudio
  • Origo, Federica
  • Zwick, Thomas

This paper investigates the functioning of regional labour markets in Italy and Germany for different employee groups. In the light of high and persistent differences in unemployment and wage rates between the North and South of Italy and the West and East of Germany, we first derive theoretical hypotheses on group specific correlations between regional unemployment and individual wages. Using micro data on hourly wages properly matched to local unemployment rates, we specify and empirically test different wage equations. On the basis of our results, we find no evidence for the existence of a ?wage curve? in Italy. In the case of Germany, results are quite sensitive to the model specification and the employee group considered. In both countries, the reaction of wages to local unemployment varies significantly along the wage distribution, being more sensitive around the median quantiles. We conclude that there is no uniform wage curve and call for a differentiated analysis for various groups, taking into account the respective institutional setting.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 07-008.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5495
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  1. Faggio, Guilia & Nickell, Stephen, 2005. "The responsiveness of wages to labour market conditions in the UK," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 685-696, October.
  2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 1989. "The Wage Curve," NBER Working Papers 3181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A., 1989. "The Wage Curve," Papers 340, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  3. Devicienti, Francesco & Maida, Agata & Pacelli, Lia, 2008. "The resurrection of the Italian wage curve," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 335-341, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Nickell, Stephen & Wadhwani, Sushil B, 1989. "Insider Forces and Wage Determination," CEPR Discussion Papers 310, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2005. "The Last Word on the Wage Curve?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 421-450, 07.
  7. Lucifora Claudio & Origo Federica, 1999. "Alla ricerca della flessibilità: un'analisi della curva dei salari in Italia," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 3-36.
  8. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "What We Know and Do Not Know About the Natural Rate of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 5822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Carlo Dell'Aringa & Claudio Lucifora & Federica Origo, 2007. "Public Sector Pay And Regional Competitiveness. A First Look At Regional Public-Private Wage Differentials In Italy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(4), pages 445-478, 07.
  10. Salop, Steven C, 1979. "A Model of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 117-25, March.
  11. Ammermüller, Andreas & Kuckulenz, Anja & Zwick, Thomas, 2006. "Aggregate Unemployment Decreases Individual Returns to Education," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-34, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  13. Baltagi, Badi H. & Blien, Uwe, 1998. "The German wage curve: evidence from the IAB employment sample," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 135-142, November.
  14. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
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  16. David Card, 1995. "The Wage Curve: A Review," Working Papers 722, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  17. Chiarini, Bruno & Piselli, Paolo, 1997. "Wage Setting, Wage Curve and Phillips Curve: The Italian Evidence," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 545-65, November.
  18. C Bean, 1992. "European Unemployment: A Survey," CEP Discussion Papers dp0071, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  19. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, October.
  20. Piero CASADIO & Maria LAMELAS & Giorgio RODANO, 2005. "Cambiamento istituzionale, salari e flessibilità: l’esperienza della concertazione in Italia," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 113(2), pages 185-214.
  21. Silvia Fabiani & Alberto Locarno & Gian Paolo Oneto & Paolo Sestito, 1997. "NAIRU: Incomes Policy and Inflation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 187, OECD Publishing.
  22. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
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