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Omiros Kouvavas

27 December 2019
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - ARTICLE
Economic Bulletin Issue 8, 2019
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Abstract
Although recent wage growth has increasingly been in line with predictions, there has been a period of low and under-predicted wage growth in the euro area. This period of weak wage growth can be explained to a large extent by the drivers traditionally captured in a Phillips curve analysis, such as economic slack (including broader measures of labour market slack) and inflation expectations. However, these factors do not paint the full picture, as wages were consistently under-predicted during the period 2013-17. As wages differ across sectors and according to employees’ individual characteristics, significant changes in the composition of employment that have taken place in the euro area since the beginning of the crisis could have been an important factor in aggregate wage growth developments. These changes can result from slow-moving trends, cyclical changes or a combination of the two. This article discusses the role of such changes, known as “compositional effects”, in wage growth. It analyses the role of changes in the composition of employment with respect to the individual characteristics of employees (e.g. age, education or gender), employment types (e.g. permanent or temporary contracts) and sectoral shifts. The analysis is mainly based on microdata from the EU survey of income and living conditions, but the article also includes cross-checks and analyses based on the EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) and national accounts data. The analyses indicate that compositional effects pushed up wage growth early in the crisis, but that the effect later decreased and turned negative. This has contributed to a relatively muted response from aggregate wage growth, both to the strong downturn of the labour market early in the crisis and later, from 2014 onwards, to cyclical improvements. Hence compositional effects have been one factor contributing to low wage growth in the euro area. The most important contributions to compositional effects seem to be related to changes in the age and educational structure of the workforce, which can have both a long-term and a cyclical impact. Looking at country-specific evidence, the euro area aggregate results have been influenced by Spain and Italy in particular.
JEL Code
J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
27 December 2019
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 8, 2019
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Abstract
The box assesses recent developments in social security contributions and minimum wages. It finds that social security contributions have led to a moderation of growth in composition of employee growth, while growth in wages and salaries per employee – excluding employers’ social security contributions – has remained quite robust. Over the last decade minimum wages have affected wage growth substantially in some countries, but only marginally in the euro area.
JEL Code
J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General
J38 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Public Policy
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
14 May 2020
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 3, 2020
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Abstract
In this box we review price measurement issues that can arise in times of economic distress. First, we discuss how consumers’ substitution across items in the face of an economic downturn can drive a wedge between published statistics and household consumption prices. We present some evidence from previous recessions along with the historical weights of the aggregated HICP. Second, we discuss additional challenges generated by the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. Lastly, we discuss possible implications for policymakers.
JEL Code
E2 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
E4 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates
10 November 2020
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 7, 2020
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Abstract
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered large shifts in household consumption as well as issues related to price collection. We construct a monthly-reweighted consumer price index for the euro area which is able to capture part of the changes in household consumption since the beginning of the pandemic. In this way, we quantify the gap between published HICP inflation and the inflation rate of the items actually purchased by final consumers. Furthermore, we discuss the issue of price imputation and its impact on published statistics.
JEL Code
E2 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
E4 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates
25 March 2021
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 2, 2021
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Abstract
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic triggered significant changes in household spending in 2020. These shifts are reflected in the 2021 HICP weights, and consequently, also in measured annual inflation. The impact of these new HICP weights on annual inflation is not insignificant and is also heterogenous across countries. Looking ahead, the full impact will most likely only materialise over the course of the year as the relative prices gradually change.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles