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Fernando Martins

21 September 2021
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 275
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Abstract
This report discusses the role of the European Union’s full employment objective in the conduct of the ECB’s monetary policy. It first reviews a range of indicators of full employment, highlights the heterogeneity of labour market outcomes within different groups in the population and across countries, and documents the flatness of the Phillips curve in the euro area. In this context, it is stressed that labour market structures and trend labour market outcomes are primarily determined by national economic policies. The report then recalls that, in many circumstances, inflation and employment move together and pursuing price stability is conducive to supporting employment. However, in response to economic shocks that give rise to a temporary trade-off between employment and inflation stabilisation, the ECB’s medium-term orientation in pursuing price stability is shown to provide flexibility to contribute to the achievement of the EU’s full employment objective. Regarding the conduct of monetary policy in a low interest rate environment, model-based simulations suggest that history-dependent policy approaches − which have been proposed to overcome lasting shortfalls of inflation due to the effective lower bound on nominal interest rates by a more persistent policy response to disinflationary shocks − can help to bring employment closer to full employment, even though their effectiveness depends on the strength of the postulated expectations channels. Finally, the importance of employment income and wealth inequality in the transmission of monetary policy strengthens the case for more persistent or forceful easing policies (in pursuit of price stability) when interest rates are constrained by their lower bound.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
15 June 2018
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2158
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Abstract
This paper provides evidence on the role of non-base wage components as a channel for firms to adjust labour costs in the event of adverse shocks. It uses data from a firm-level survey for 25 European countries that covers the period 2010–2013. We find that firms subject to nominal wage rigidities, which prevent them from adjusting base wages, are more likely to cut non-base wage components in order to adjust labour costs when needed. Firms thus use non-base wage components as a buffer to overcome base wage rigidity. We further show that while nonbase wage components exhibit some degree of downward rigidity, they do so to a lesser extent than base wages.
JEL Code
J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General
J32 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits, Retirement Plans, Private Pensions
C81 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data, Data Access
P5 : Economic Systems→Comparative Economic Systems
Network
Wage dynamics network
1 April 2011
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1314
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Abstract
This paper presents the main findings of a survey conducted on a sample of Portuguese firms. The main aim was to identify some relevant characteristics about the dynamics of prices and wages in Portugal. The most important conclusions are: i) changes to wages are more synchronized than changes to prices; ii) most wages are defined using inflation as a yardstick, even though there are no formal rules; iii) the wages of most workers are defined in terms of sector-related collective agreements; iv) a considerable proportion of workers receive wages above those been agreed under the collective agreement; v) firms make frequent use of other mechanisms to cut payroll costs as a way of overcoming the restrictions imposed by downward nominal wage rigidity.
JEL Code
D21 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Theory
E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
Network
Wage dynamics network
1 March 2011
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1306
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Abstract
Infrequent price changes at the firm level are now well documented in the literature. However, a number of issues remain partly unaddressed. This paper contributes to the literature on price stickiness by investigating the lags of price adjustments to different types of shocks. We find that adjustment lags to cost and demand shocks vary with firm characteristics, namely the firm's cost structure, the type of pricing policy, and the type of good. We also document that firms react asymmetrically to demand and cost shocks, as well as to positive and negative shocks, and that the degree and direction of the asymmetry varies across firms.
JEL Code
C41 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Duration Analysis, Optimal Timing Strategies
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Wage dynamics network
1 March 2011
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1305
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Abstract
Thanks to recent findings based on survey data, it is now well known that firms differ from each other with respect to their price-reviewing strategies. While some firms review their prices at fixed intervals of time, others prefer to perform price revisions in response to changes in economic conditions. In order to explain this fact, some theories have been suggested in the literature. However, empirical evidence on the relative importance of the factors determining firms' different strategies is virtually non-existent. This paper contributes to filling this gap by investigating the factors that explain why firms follow time-, state- or time- and state-dependent price-reviewing rules. We find that firms' strategies vary with firm characteristics that have a bearing on the importance of information costs, the variability of the optimal price and the sensitivity of profits to non-optimal prices. Menu costs, however, do not seem to play a significant role.
JEL Code
C41 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Duration Analysis, Optimal Timing Strategies
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Wage dynamics network
16 July 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1225
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Abstract
This paper brings together empirical research on price and wage dynamics for the Portuguese economy based both on micro and macro data. As regards firms' pricing behaviour the most noticeable finding is that prices in Portugal are somewhat less flexible than in the United States but more flexible than in the Euro Area. Regarding firms' wage setting practices, we uncover evidence favouring the hypothesis of aggregate and disaggregate wage flexibility. Despite the existence of mandatory minimum wages, the presence of binding wage floors and the general use of extension mechanisms, the firms still retain some ability to circumvent collective agreements via the mechanism of the wage cushion. The evidence also suggests that Portuguese wages behave in a fashion consistent with the wage curve literature, but the responsiveness of real wages to unemployment changes may have declined over the last decade.
JEL Code
C42 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Survey Methods
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General
Network
Wage dynamics network
24 August 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1084
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Abstract
This paper presents new evidence on the patterns of price and wage adjustment in European firms and on the extent of nominal rigidities. It uses a unique dataset collected through a firm-level survey conducted in a broad range of countries and covering various sectors. Several conclusions are drawn from this evidence. Firms adjust wages less frequently than prices: the former tend to remain unchanged for about 15 months on average, the latter for around 10 months. The degree of price rigidity varies substantially across sectors and depends strongly on economic features, such as the intensity of competition, the exposure to foreign markets and the share of labour costs in total cost. Instead, country specificities, mostly related to the labour market institutional setting, are more relevant in characterising the pattern of wage adjustment. The latter exhibits also a substantial degree of time-dependence, as firms tend to concentrate wage changes in a specific month, mostly January in the majority of countries. Wage and price changes feed into each other at the micro level and there is a relationship between wage and price rigidity.
JEL Code
D21 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Theory
E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
Network
Wage dynamics network
14 December 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 563
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Abstract
This paper presents original evidence on price setting in the euro area at the individual level. We use micro data on consumer (CPI) and producer (PPI) prices, as well as survey information. Our main findings are: (i) prices in the euro area are sticky and more so than in the US; (ii) there is evidence of heterogeneity and of asymmetries in price setting behaviour; (iii) downward price rigidity is only slightly more marked than upward price rigidity and (iv) implicit or explicit contracts and coordination failure theories are important, whereas menu or information costs are judged much less relevant by firms.
JEL Code
C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
14 December 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 562
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Abstract
This paper analyses the results of a survey conducted by the Banco de Portugal with the main purpose of investigating firms' price setting behaviour. The evidence points to the presence of a considerable degree of price stickiness, which seems to be higher in services than in manufacturing. The presence of implicit contracts between firms and their customers under which the former pledge to stabilise their prices as a way to increase customers' loyalty is apparently the main reason that prevents firms from changing their prices more promptly. Other relevant sources of price stickiness were also found: coordination problems arising from the preference of firms not to change their prices unless their competitors do so, the constraint imposed by a high share of fixed costs, marginal costs that vary little when costs are an important determinant in pricing decisions or the presence of formal contracts that are costly to renegotiate.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
21 October 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 535
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Abstract
This study investigates the pricing behaviour of firms in the euro area on the basis of surveys conducted by nine Eurosystem national central banks, covering more than 11,000 firms. The results, robust across countries, show that firms operate in monopolistically competitive markets, where prices are mostly set following markup rules and where price discrimination is common. Around one-third of firms follow mainly time-dependent pricing rules while two thirds allow for elements of state-dependence. The majority of firms take into account past and expected economic developments in their pricing decisions. Price stickiness is mainly driven by customer relationships
JEL Code
E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network