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A Fair Wage Model of Unemployment with Inertia in Fairness Perceptions

George Chouliarakis and Mónica Correa-López

Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series from Economics, The University of Manchester

Abstract: Theories of psychology and empirical evidence suggest that the reference transactions against which workers judge fairness exhibit inertia. This paper shows that a fair-wage model with inertia in fairness perceptions provides a plausible explanation for the observed negative correlation between changes in productivity growth and equilibrium unemployment over the medium run, a stylized fact that remains elusive to most other classes of models. It also shows that skillbiased productivity shocks and shocks to workers’ taste for equal pay have permanent effects on unemployment and the skill premium. Our quantitative results suggest that the effect of these shocks can be sizeable.

Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2009
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