Wage rigidity, institutions, and inflation

Steinar Holden and Fredrik Wulfsberg.

Photo: The Scandinavia Journal of Economics

Published in:

Scandinavian Journal of Economics 2014 116 (2) pp.539-569.



We study the possible existence of downward nominal wage rigidity (DNWR) at wage growth rates rates different from zero in aggregate data. Even if DNWR prevails at zero for individual workers, compositional effects may lead to falling aggregate wages, while changes in relative wages combined with DNWR may lead to positive aggregate wage growth. We explore industry data for 19 OECD countries, over the 1971–2006 period. We find evidence for a floor on nominal wage growth at 6 percent in the 1970s and 1980s, at 1 percent in the 1990s, and at 0.5 percent in the 2000s. Furthermore, we find that DNWR is stronger in country-years with strict employment protection legislation, high union density, centralized wage setting, and high inflation.

Published June 26, 2015 11:47 AM - Last modified June 26, 2015 12:08 PM