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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. 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.
  2. Kahn, Shulamit, 1997. "Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 993-1008, December.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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..
  6. Agell, Jonas & Bennmarker, Helge, 2002. "Wage Policy and Endogenous Wage Rigidity: A Representative View from the Inside," Research Papers in Economics 2002:12, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  7. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L, 2001. "Deunionization, Technical Change and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Malcomson, J., 1998. "Individual employment contracts," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9804, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  12. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Götte, 2000. "Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity," CESifo Working Paper Series 335, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. 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.
  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. 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.
  16. Fehr, Ernst, 2000. "The Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 2516, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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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