Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM)

CFCM 16/01: Sectoral Wage Rigidities and Labour and Product Market Institutions in the Euro Area


We estimate wage Phillips curve relationships between sectoral wage growth, unemployment and productivity in a country-industry panel of euro area countries. We find that institutional rigidities – such as labour and product market institutions and regulations – limit the adjustment of euro area wages to unemployment, in both upturns and downturns, particularly in manufacturing and, to a lesser extent, in the construction and service sectors. In addition, there are also further limitations in the response of wages to changes in unemployment during economic downturns which suggests that euro area wages are also characterised by significant downward wage rigidities, especially in the manufacturing sector. These results are robust to specifications that account for factors that may affect structural unemployment (such as duration-dependent unemployment effects), as well as changes in the skill composition of employment that may affect the evolution of aggregate wages. The results also hold for panels including or excluding the public sector (where wages may be determined differently to the private sector also due to the effects of fiscal consolidation on public sectorwages during the crisis). From a policy perspective, reforms in product and labour markets which reduce wage rigidities can facilitate employment growth and enhance the rebalancing process in the euro area.

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Robert Anderton, Arno Hantzsche, Simon Savsek and Mate Toth


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Posted on Monday 21st March 2016

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