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Jurga Pesliakaitė

11 August 2016
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 176
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Abstract
This paper examines the overall macroeconomic impact arising from reform in government wages and employment, at times of fiscal consolidation. Reform of these two components of the government wage bill appeared necessary for containing the deterioration of the public finances in several EU countries, as a consequence of the financial crisis. Such reforms entailed in some instances, but not always, the implementation of cost-cutting measures affecting the government wage bill, as part of broader consolidation packages that typically hinged more heavily on other fiscal instruments, like public investment. While such measures have adverse short-term macroeconomic effects, public wage bill restraining policy changes present the idiosyncrasy that they can yield medium- to longer-term benefits due to possible competitiveness and efficiency gains through their impact on labour market dynamics. This paper provides some evidence of such medium- to long-run effects, based on a wealth of micro and macro data in the euro area and the EU. It concludes that appropriately designed government wage bill moderation could indeed produce positive dividends to the economy, which depend on certain country-specific conditions. These gains can be reinforced by relevant fiscal-structural reforms.
JEL Code
H50 : Public Economics→National Government Expenditures and Related Policies→General
E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy
J45 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Particular Labor Markets→Public Sector Labor Markets
10 January 2018
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2122
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Abstract
We study the transmission channels for rises in the minimum wage using a unique firm-level dataset from eight Central and Eastern European countries. Representative samples of firms in each country were asked to evaluate the relevance of a wide range of adjustment channels following specific instances of rises in the minimum wage during the recent post-crisis period. The paper adds to the rest of literature by presenting the reactions of firms as a combination of strategies, and evaluates the relative importance of those strategies. Our findings suggest that the most popular adjustment channels are cuts in non-labour costs, rises in product prices, and improvements in productivity. Cuts in employment are less popular and occur mostly through reduced hiring rather than direct layoffs. Our study also provides evidence of potential spillover effects that rises in the minimum wage can have on firms without minimum wage workers.
JEL Code
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
E23 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Production
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
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