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Philip Du Caju

17 December 2007
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 840
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Abstract
This paper evaluates the extent of downward nominal and real wage rigidity for different categories of workers and firms using the methodology recently developed by the International Wage Flexibility Project (Dickens and Goette, 2006). The analysis is based on an administrative data set on individual earnings, covering one-third of employees of the private sector in Belgium over the period 1990-2002. Our results show that Belgium is characterised by strong real wage rigidity and very low nominal wage rigidity, consistent with the Belgian wage formation system of full indexation. Real rigidity is stronger for white-collar workers than for blue-collar workers. Real rigidity decreases with age and wage level. Wage rigidity appears to be lower in firms experiencing downturns. Finally, smaller firms and firms with lower job quit rates appear to have more rigid wages. Our results are robust to alternative measures of rigidity.
JEL Code
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
Network
Wage dynamics network
2 December 2008
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 974
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Abstract
This paper presents information on wage bargaining institutions, collected using a standardised questionnaire. Our data provide information from 1995 and 2006, for four sectors of activity and the aggregate economy, considering 23 European countries, plus the US and Japan. Main findings include a high degree of regulation in wage setting in most countries. Although union membership is low in many countries, union coverage is high and almost all countries also have some form of national minimum wage. Most countries negotiate wages on several levels, the sectoral level still being the most dominant, with an increasingly important role for bargaining at the firm level. The average length of collective bargaining agreements is found to lie between one and three years. Most agreements are strongly driven by developments in prices and eleven countries have some form of indexation mechanism which affects wages. Cluster analysis identifies three country groupings of wage-setting institutions.
JEL Code
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
J38 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Public Policy
J51 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Labor?Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining→Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
J58 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Labor?Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining→Public Policy
Network
Wage dynamics network
12 February 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1006
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Abstract
This paper examines whether differences in wage rigidity across sectors can be explained by differences in workforce composition, competition, technology and wage-bargaining institutions. We adopt the measure of downward real wage rigidity (DRWR) developed by Dickens and Goette (2006) and rely on a large administrative matched employer-employee dataset for Belgium over the period 1990-2002. Firstly, our results indicate that DRWR is significantly higher for white-collar workers and lower for older workers and for workers with higher earnings and bonuses. Secondly, beyond labour force composition effects, sectoral differences in DRWR are related to competition, firm size, technology and wage bargaining institutions. We find that wages are more rigid in more competitive sectors, in labour-intensive sectors, and in sectors with predominant centralised wage setting at the sector level as opposed to firm-level wage agreements.
JEL Code
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
Network
Wage dynamics network
21 October 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1103
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Abstract
This paper investigates inter-industry wage differentials in Belgium, taking advantage of access to a unique matched employer-employee data set covering all the years from 1999 to 2005. Findings show the existence of large wage differentials among workers with the same observed characteristics and working conditions, employed in different sectors. These differentials are persistent and no particular downward or upward trend is observed. Further results indicate that ceteris paribus, workers earn significantly higher wages when employed in more profitable firms. The time dimension of our matched employer-employee data allows us to instrument firms' profitability by its lagged value. The instrumented elasticity between wages and profits is found to be quite stable over time and varies between 0.034 and 0.043. It follows that Lester's range of pay due to rent sharing fluctuates between about 24 and 37 percent of the mean wage. This rent-sharing phenomenon accounts for a large fraction of the industry wage differentials. We find indeed that the magnitude, dispersion and significance of industry wage differentials decreases sharply when controlling for profits.
JEL Code
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
J41 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Particular Labor Markets→Labor Contracts
Network
Wage dynamics network
12 November 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1106
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Abstract
Firms have multiple options at the time of adjusting their wage bills. However, previous literature has mainly focused on base wages. We broaden the analysis beyond downward rigidity in base wages by investigating the use of other margins of labour cost adjustment at the firm level. Using data from a unique survey, we find that firms make frequent use of other, more flexible, components of compensation to adjust the cost of labour. Changes in bonuses and non-pay benefits are some of the potential margins firms use to reduce costs. We also show how the margins of adjustment chosen are affected by firm and worker characteristics.
JEL Code
J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General
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
12 November 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1105
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Abstract
It has been well established that the wages of individual workers react little, especially downwards, to shocks that hit their employer. This paper presents new evidence from a unique survey of firms across Europe on the prevalence of downward wage rigidity in both real and nominal terms. We analyse which firm-level and institutional factors are associated with wage rigidity. Our results indicate that it is related to workforce composition at the establishment level in a manner that is consistent with related theoretical models (e.g. efficiency wage theory, insider-outsider theory). We also find that wage rigidity depends on the labour market institutional environment. Collective bargaining coverage is positively related with downward real wage rigidity, measured on the basis of wage indexation. Downward nominal wage rigidity is positively associated with the extent of permanent contracts and this effect is stronger in countries with stricter employment protection regulations.
JEL Code
J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
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
21 April 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1182
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Abstract
This paper documents the existence and main patterns of inter-industry wage differentials across a large number of industries for 8 EU countries (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain) at two points in time (in general 1995 and 2002) and explores possible explanations for these patterns. The analysis uses the European Structure of Earnings Survey (SES), an internationally harmonised matched employer-employee dataset, to estimate inter-industry wage differentials conditional on a rich set of employee, employer and job characteristics. After investigating the possibility that unobservable employee characteristics lie behind the conditional wage differentials, a hypothesis which cannot be accepted, the paper investigates the role of institutional, industry structure and industry performance characteristics in explaining inter-industry wage differentials. The results suggest that inter-industry wage differentials are consistent with rent sharing mechanisms and that rent sharing is more likely in industries with firm-level collective agreements and with higher collective agreement coverage.
JEL Code
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
J41 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Particular Labor Markets→Labor Contracts
J51 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Labor?Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining→Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
Network
Wage dynamics network
25 June 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1213
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Abstract
This paper presents estimates based on individual data of downward nominal and real wage rigidities for thirteen sectors in Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Portugal. Our methodology follows the approach recently developed for the International Wage Flexibility Project, whereby resistance to nominal and real wage cuts is measured through departures of observed individual wage change histograms from an estimated counter factual wage change distribution that would have prevailed in the absence of rigidity. We evaluate the role of worker and firm characteristics in shaping wage rigidities. We also confront our estimates of wage rigidities to structural features of the labour markets studied, such as the wage bargaining level, variable pay policy and the degree of product market competition. We find that the use of firm-level collective agreements in countries with rather centralized wage formation reduces the degree of real wage rigidity. This finding suggests that some degree of decentralization within highly centralized countries allows firms to adjust wages downwards, when business conditions turn bad.
JEL Code
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
Network
Wage dynamics network
8 April 2011
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1325
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Abstract
In the last decades, international trade has increased between industrialised countries and between high- and low-wage countries. This important change has raised questions on how international trade affects the labour market. In this spirit, this paper aims to investigate the impact of international trade on wage dispersion in a small open economy. It is one of the few to: i) use detailed matched employer-employee data to compute industry wage premia and disaggregated industry level panel data to examine the impact of changes in exports and imports on changes in wage differentials, ii) examine the impact of imports according to the country of origin. Looking at the export side, we find a positive effect of exports on the industry wage premium. The results also show that import penetration from low
JEL Code
F16 : International Economics→Trade→Trade and Labor Market Interactions
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
Network
Wage dynamics network
20 February 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1639
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we present an up-to-date assessment of the differences across euro area countries in the distributions of various measures of debt conditional on household characteristics. We consider three different outcomes: the probability of holding debt, the amount of debt held and, in the case of secured debt, the interest rate paid on the main mortgage. Second, we examine the role of legal and economic institutions in accounting for these differences. We use data from the first wave of a new survey of household finances, the Household Finance and Consumption Survey, to achieve these aims. We find that the patterns of secured and unsecured debt outcomes vary markedly across countries. Among all the institutions considered the length of asset repossession periods best accounts for the features of the distribution of secured debt. In countries with longer repossession periods, the fraction of people who borrow is smaller, the youngest group of households borrow lower amounts (conditional on borrowing), and the mortgage interest rates paid by low-income households are higher. Regulatory loan-to-value ratios, the taxation of mortgages and the prevalence of interest-only or fixed rate mortgages deliver less robust results.
JEL Code
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
K35 : Law and Economics→Other Substantive Areas of Law→Personal Bankruptcy Law
Network
Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN)
24 May 2016
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1908
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Abstract
We study how unemployment affects the over-indebtedness of households using the new European Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS). First, we assess the role of different labor market statuses (i.e. employed, unemployed, disabled, retired, etc.) and other household characteristics (i.e. demographics, housing status, household wealth and income, etc.) to determine the likelihood of over-indebtedness. We explore these relationships both at the Euro area level and through country-specific regressions. This approach captures country-specific institutional effects concerning all the different factors which can explain household indebtedness in its most severe form. We also examine the role that each country
JEL Code
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
D91 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice→Intertemporal Household Choice, Life Cycle Models and Saving
J12 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demographic Economics→Marriage, Marital Dissolution, Family Structure, Domestic Abuse
Network
Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN)