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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
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:551
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  1. 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..
  2. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1993. "Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Working Paper Series 380, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  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. 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.
  7. Harhoff, Dietmar & Stahl, Konrad & Woywode, Michael, 1998. "Legal Form, Growth and Exit of West German Firms--Empirical Results for Manufacturing, Construction, Trade and Service Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 453-88, December.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Malcomson, J., 1998. "Individual employment contracts," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9804, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  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. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Götte, 2000. "Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity," CESifo Working Paper Series 335, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2007. "The Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity," Kiel Working Papers 1343, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  17. Fehr, Ernst, 1990. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 624-30, June.
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