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Anna Sanz de Galdeano

25 April 2005
We present empirical evidence of the extent of wage rigidity in the euro area and European countries derived from longitudinal data on individuals. Wage rigidity is measured by the elasticity of individual real wages with respect to local unemployment. The results suggest that the elasticity is indeed negative, i.e. that real wages are lower in local labour markets with higher unemployment. The size of the elasticity for the euro area is similar to that found in previous studies for a number of countries, including the United States. Furthermore, there is some variation in the unemployment elasticity by worker groups and along the wage distribution. In particular, public sector wages are relatively rigid compared to wages in the private sector, contributing significantly to wage rigidity in the euro area. Country results show some heterogeneity in wage rigidity across European countries and suggest a tentative ranking of countries.
JEL Code
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
J45 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Particular Labor Markets→Public Sector Labor Markets
J64 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers→Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search