How Selective Are Real Wage Cuts? A Micro-analysis Using Linked Employer–Employee Data
LABOUR: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations,
Using linked employer–employee panel data for Germany, we investigate whether firms implement real wage reductions in a selective manner. In line with insider–outsider and several strands of efficiency wage theory, we find strong evidence for selective wage cuts with high-productivity workers being spared even when controlling for permanent differences in firms' wage policies. In contrast to some recent contributions stressing fairness considerations, we also find that wage cuts increase wage dispersion among peers rather than narrowing it. Notably, the same selectivity pattern shows up when restricting our analysis to firms covered by collective agreements or having a works council.
The New EU Countries and Euro Adoption
In the new member states of the EU which have not yet adopted the euro, previous adoption strategies have come under scrutiny. The spillovers and contagion from the global financial crisis revealed a new threat to the countries’ real convergence goal, namely considerable vulnerability to the transmission of financial instability to the real economy. This paper demonstrates the existence of extreme risks for real convergence and argues in favour of a new adoption strategy which does not announce a target date for the currency changeover and which allows for more flexible and countercyclical monetary, fiscal and wage policies.
A Macroeconomist’s View on EU Governance Reform: Why and How to Establish Policy Coordination?
This paper discusses the need for macroeconomic policy coordination in the E(M)U. Coordination of national policies with cross-border effects does not exist at the macroeconomic level, although requested by the EU Treaty. The need for coordination stems from current account imbalances, which origin in market-induced capital flows, destabilizing the real exchange rates between low and high wage countries. The recent attempts of the Commission and the European Council to reform E(M)U governance do not address this problem and thus remain incapable to protect against future instability.
The Emergence of Wage Coordination in the Central Western European Metal Sector and its Relationship to European Economic Policy
In the European Monetary Union the transnational coordination of collective wage bargaining has acquired increased importance on the trade union agenda. The metal sector has been at the forefront of these developments. This paper addresses the issue of crossborder coordination of wage setting in the metal sector in the central western European region, that is, in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, where coordination practices have become firmly established in comparison to other sectors. When testing the interaction of wage developments in the metal sector of these three countries, relevant macroeconomic (inflation and labour productivity) and sector-related variables (employment, export-dependence) are considered with reference to the wage policy guidelines of the European Commission and the European Metalworkers’ Federation. Empirical evidence can be found for a wage coordination effect in the form of increasing compliance with the wage policy guidelines of the European Metalworkers’ Federation. The evidence for compliance with the stability-oriented wage guideline of the European Commission is weaker.
Is the European Monetary Union an Endogenous Currency Area? The Example of the Labor Markets
Our study tries to find out whether wage dynamics between Euro member countries became more synchronized through the adoption of the common currency. We calculate bivarate correlation coefficients of wage and wage cost dynamics and run a model of endogenously induced changes of coefficients, which are explained by other variables being also endogenous: trade intensity, sectoral specialization, financial integration. We used a panel data structure to allow for cross-section weights for country-pair observations. We use instrumental variable regressions in order to disentangle exogenous from endogenous influences. We applied these techniques to real and nominal wage dynamics and to dynamics of unit labor costs. We found evidence for persistent asymmetries in nominal wage formation despite a single currency and monetary policy, responsible for diverging unit labor costs and for emerging trade imbalances among the EMU member countries.
Determinants of employment - the macroeconomic view
Schriften des IWH,
The weak performance of the German labour market over the past years has led to a significant unemployment problem. Currently, on average 4.5 mio. people are without a job contract, and a large part of them are long-term unemployed. A longer period of unemployment reduces their employability and aggravates the problem of social exclusion.
The factors driving the evolution of employment have been recently discussed on the workshop Determinanten der Beschäftigung – die makroökonomische Sicht organized jointly by the IAB, Nuremberg, and the IWH, Halle. The present volume contains the papers and proceedings to the policy oriented workshop held in November 2004, 15-16th. The main focus of the contributions is twofold. First, macroeconomic conditions to stimulate output and employment are considered. Second, the impacts of the increasing tax wedge between labour costs and the take home pay are emphasized. In particular, the role of the contributions to the social security system is investigated.
In his introductory address, Ulrich Walwei (IAB) links the unemployment experience to the modest path of economic growth in Germany. In addition, the low employment intensity of GDP growth and the temporary standstill of the convergence process of the East German economy have contributed to the weak labour market performance. In his analysis, Gebhard Flaig (ifo Institute, München) stresses the importance of relative factor price developments. A higher rate of wage growth leads to a decrease of the employment intensity of production, and correspondingly to an increase of the threshold of employment. Christian Dreger (IWH) discusses the relevance of labour market institutions like employment protection legislation and the structure of the wage bargaining process on the labour market outcome. Compared to the current setting, policies should try to introduce more flexibility in labour markets to improve the employment record. The impact of interest rate shocks on production is examined by the paper of Boris Hofmann (Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt). According to the empirical evidence, monetary policy cannot explain the modest economic performance in Germany. György Barabas and Roland Döhrn (RWI Essen) have simulated the effects of a world trade shock on output and employment. The relationships have been fairly stable over the past years, even in light of the increasing globalization. Income and employment effects of the German tax reform in 2000 are discussed by Peter Haan and Viktor Steiner (DIW Berlin). On the base of a microsimulation model, household gains are determined. Also, a positive relationship between wages and labour supply can be established. Michael Feil und Gerd Zika (IAB) have examined the employment effects of a reduction of the contribution rates to the social security system. To obtain robust results, the analysis is done under alternative financing scenarios and with different macroeconometric models. The impacts of allowances of social security contributions on the incentives to work are discussed by Wolfgang Meister and Wolfgang Ochel (ifo München). According to their study, willingness to work is expected to increase especially at the lower end of the income distribution. The implied loss of contributions could be financed by higher taxes.