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The Rationale for Wage Rigidity: Survey Evidence from German and US Firms

  • Pfeiffer, Friedhelm
  • Franz, Wolfgang

The study provides evidence for the rationale of wage rigidity in Germany compared to the United States. Based on a survey of 801 firms, we extend the study of Campbell and Kanlani (1997, this journal) by using more thorough econometric methods, for example, and find strong support for explanations based on labor union contracts and implicit wages for Germany. Furthermore, survey respondents indicated that labor union contracts and implicit contracts are important reasons for wage rigidity for the (less) skilled. Specific human capital and negative signals for new hires are important reasons for the highly skilled. In contrast to the US experience for German firms insider-outsider behavior, labor union contracts and specific human capital seem to be more important explanations of wage rigidity.

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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 02-60.

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Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:551
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  1. Malcomson, James M., 1999. "Individual employment contracts," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 2291-2372 Elsevier.
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  3. Fehr, Ernst, 1990. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 624-30, June.
  4. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. " Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 295-307, June.
  5. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1999. "Microeconomic perspectives on aggregate labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 45, pages 2985-3028 Elsevier.
  6. Harhoff, Dietmar & Stahl, Konrad & Woywode, Michael, 1996. "Legal Form, Growth and Exit of West German Firms - Empirical Results for Manufacturing, Construction, Trade and Service Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L., 2001. "Deunionization, technical change and inequality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 229-264, December.
  8. Agell, Jonas & Bennmarker, Helge, 2002. "Wage policy and endogenous wage rigidity: a representative view from the inside," Working Paper Series 2002:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  10. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  11. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 1999. "Institutions and laws in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1399-1461 Elsevier.
  12. 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.
  13. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Joseph G. Altonji & Paul J. Devereux, 1999. "The Extent and Consequences of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," NBER Working Papers 7236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Bewley, Truman F, 1995. "A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 250-54, May.
  17. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
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