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ROBUSTNESS AND REAL CONSEQUENCES OF NOMINAL WAGE RIGIDITY

Ernst Fehr () and Lorenz Goette ()

Macroeconomics from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: Recent studies found evidence for nominal wage rigidity during periods of relatively high wage inflation. It has been argued, however, that in an environment with low wage inflation, when nominal wage cuts become customary, workers’ opposition to nominal cuts would erode and, hence, firms would no longer hesitate to reduce nominal pay. If this argument is valid nominal wage rigidities are largely irrelevant because in a high inflation environment there is little need to cut nominal pay while in a low inflation environment the necessary cuts would occur. To examine this argument we use data from Switzerland where wage inflation has been very low for many years in the 1990s. We find that the rigidity of nominal wages is a robust phenomenon that does not vanish in a low inflation environment. In addition, it constitutes a considerable obstacle to real wage adjustments. In the absence of downward nominal rigidity, real wages would indeed be quite responsive to unemployment. Moreover, the wage sweepups caused by nominal rigidity are strongly correlated with unemployment suggesting that downward rigidity of nominal wages indeed contributes to unemployment.

Keywords: nominal; wage; rigidity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E31 E52 J30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 35 pages
Date: 2004-09-29
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 35
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Related works:
Working Paper: Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity (2007) Downloads
Journal Article: Robustness and real consequences of nominal wage rigidity (2005) Downloads
Working Paper: Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity (2000) Downloads
Working Paper: The Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity (2000) Downloads
Working Paper: Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity Downloads
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