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Wage adjustment and employment in Europe

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Petra Marotzke (Deutsche Bundesbank)
29 September, 2016, Open Seminar in Eesti Pank

Published in: Economy & Finance
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Wage adjustment and employment in Europe

  1. 1. Wage adjustment and employment in Europe Petra Marotzke (Deutsche Bundesbank) Robert Anderton (ECB) Ana Bairrao (ECB) Clémence Berson (Banque de France) Peter Tóth (Národná Banka Slovenska) 29 September, 2016 Note: The paper represents the authors‘ personal opinions and does not necessarily reflect the views of the institutions with which they are affiliated.
  2. 2. Motivation • Severe labour market conditions in Europe often attributed to downward nominal wage rigidity • Empirical analyses of the behaviour of wages and the impact of nominal wage rigidity on employment in Europe • Firm-level survey data of the Wage Dynamics Network: 2010-2013 period mostly qualitative data („strong decrease“, „moderate“…) firms’ perceptions of shocks which—combined with data on wage adjustment— provide a tool to measure wage rigidities Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 2
  3. 3. Outline 1. Intro: Causes, measurement and impact of wage rigidity 2. Simplified relationship between wages and employment 3. Survey data 4. Evidence of downward nominal wage rigidity 5. Downward wage rigidity and employment 6. Concluding remarks Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 3
  4. 4. Downward nominal wage rigidity (DNWR) - causes • Institutional factors such as a high degree of union coverage and employment protection (e.g. Holden and Wulfsberg 2008; Anderton and Bonthuis 2015) • Employers fear that wage cuts would reduce their employees’ motivation (Stiglitz 1974, Solow 1979, Akerlof 1982, Du Caju et al 2015) Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 4 1 Intro
  5. 5. DNWR - measurement • Asymmetric wage distribution: – Wage freezes (e.g. Babecký et al. 2010,2012) • all wage freezes would be wage cuts under flexible wages • drawback: firms that freeze wages might be more flexible than firms that increase wages – %freezes/(freezes + cuts) (proposed by Dickens et al. 2007) • drawback: firms that neither cut nor freeze wages are not considered • Here: Asymmetric wage response to change in demand Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 5 1 Intro
  6. 6. DNWR and firm-level employment • Firms which freeze wages – have flexible base wages: less likely to reduce employment (Dias et al. 2013) • DNWR = deviation of notional from actual wage change: – no solid results for impact on layoffs in the US (Altonji and Devereux 2000) – increases probability of layoffs in the UK (Barwell and Schweitzer 2007) – higher turnover in Italy (Devicienti et al. 2007) • Here: – IV ordered probit model of employment and wage adjustments to fall in demand – wage reduction significantly lowers the probability of a decrease in employment at the firm level Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 6 1 Intro
  7. 7. Simplified relationship between wages and employment • Wage equation derived from Cobb-Douglas production function: = 1 − yields development of employment ∆ ln = ∆ ln + ∆ ln − ∆ ln • If wages are completely rigid and prices remain unchanged: ∆ ln = ∆ ln • In this simple model, a wage reduction could mitigate the fall in employment induced by a negative demand shock Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 7 2 Simplified relationship
  8. 8. Survey data • Harmonised questionnaire developed in the context of the ESCB Wage Dynamics Network • Firm survey conducted simultaneously in 25 European Union countries during June to September 2014 • Questions referring to: – general firm characteristics in 2013 – perceived shocks during the 2010-to-2013 period – employment and wage development between 2010-2013 • w/o public sector: 24,750 firm responses • Full estimation sample: 17,530 responses; EU 28 except Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Ireland Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 8 3 Survey Data
  9. 9. Estimation sample: variables • Changes during 2010-2013: Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 9 3 Survey Data Full sample Neg. D shock 17,530 7,706 Level of demand Strong decrease 14% 32% Moderate decrease 30% 68% Unchanged 24% - Moderate increase 27% - Strong increase 5% - Employmenta Strong decrease 6% 11% Moderate decrease 20% 32% Unchanged 42% 41% Moderate increase 27% 15% Strong increase 4% 2% Base wages Strong decrease 2% 3% Moderate decrease 6% 11% Unchanged 31% 37% Moderate increase 57% 45% Strong increase 4% 4% a own definition based on payroll composition weighted average of permanent/ temporary or fixed‐term employees/ agency workers and others
  10. 10. Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 10 3 Survey Data Full sample Neg. D shock Firm characteristics 17,530 7,706 Sector Manufacturing 35% 32% Electricity, gas, water 1% 1% Construction 10% 11% Trade 22% 24% Business services 29% 29% Financial intermediation 2% 2% Arts 1% 1% Ownership Mainly domestic 81% 84% Mainly foreign 19% 16% Size less than 19 employees 30% 36% 20-49 employees 23% 24% 50-199 employees 25% 23% 200 employees and + 22% 17% Payroll composition Lower skilled 41% 42% Higher skilled 59% 58% Job tenure > 5 years 60% 65% Permanent contracts 90% 91% Temporary contracts 9% 9% Agency 1% 0.3%
  11. 11. 11 3 Survey Data Full sample Neg. D shock Further changes in the economic environment 17,530 7,706 Lower access to external financing 25% 40% Customers’ ability to pay decreased 44% 66% Availability of supply decreased 16% 26% (Very) relevant: Credit not available or conditions too onerous to finance working capital 35% 44% finance new investment 34% 42% refinance debt 28% 36% Costs and adjustments Labor cost share in total costs 37% 38% Performence related share (bonuses) 8% 8% Share of firms paying bonuses 67% 61% Wages were frozen in at least one year between 2010 and 2013 20% 26% Wages were cut in at least one year between 2010 and 2013 7% 10% Firing costs are a (very) relevant obstacle in hiring workers with a permanent, open-ended contract 46% 55% Wage setting Share of workers covered by any collective pay agreement 54% 61% Firm level (coll. agreement) 29% 29% Outside firm level (coll. agreement) 37% 45% Wage adjustment and employment in Europe
  12. 12. 12 3 Survey Data Wage adjustment and employment in Europe Employment Base wages or piece work rates Base wages or piece work rates given employment development: Strong decrease Moderate decrease Unchanged Moderate increase Strong increase Total Strong decrease 13% 16% 37% 31% 3% 100% Moderate decrease 3% 16% 38% 40% 3% 100% Unchanged 1% 8% 43% 45% 4% 100% Moderate increase 0% 4% 26% 65% 4% 100% Strong increase 1% 2% 14% 58% 26% 100% Total 3% 11% 37% 45% 4% 100% Employment given wage development: Strong decrease Moderate decrease Unchanged Moderate increase Strong increase Total Strong decrease 46% 16% 10% 7% 9% 11% Moderate decrease 35% 48% 32% 29% 23% 32% Unchanged 16% 29% 47% 40% 41% 41% Moderate increase 2% 6% 10% 22% 16% 15% Strong increase 0% 0% 1% 2% 11% 2% Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% Employment and wage adjustments when the level of demand goes down
  13. 13. Evidence of DNWR Ordered probit model of base wage adjustments ∗ = + + • = if < ∗ ≤ ; are cut points • = 1, … 5: strong decrease, moderate decrease, unchanged, moderate increase and strong increase • : share of workers covered by a collective pay agreement • : comprises the five demand categories and dummies for firm size, sector, country • Price indices captured by sector and country dummies Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 13 4 Evidence of DNWR
  14. 14. 14 • Influence of wage bargaining process on DNWR • Asymmetric demand elasticities for wages (z-tests) • Bunch around unchanged base wages in response to negative demand shock (significant marginal effect) 4 Evidence of DNWRMarginal effects on the probability of observing the outcome (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) base wages base wages base wages base wages base wages VARIABLES strong decrease moderate decrease unchanged moderate increase strong increase collective pay agreement -0.004*** -0.012*** -0.028*** 0.033*** 0.012*** (0.001) (0.002) (0.005) (0.006) (0.002) demand strong decrease 0.016*** 0.042*** 0.081*** -0.117*** -0.022*** (0.002) (0.004) (0.006) (0.010) (0.002) moderate decrease 0.006*** 0.016*** 0.037*** -0.048*** -0.011*** (0.001) (0.002) (0.005) (0.007) (0.002) unchanged (reference) moderate increase -0.006*** -0.023*** -0.073*** 0.071*** 0.031*** (0.001) (0.002) (0.006) (0.006) (0.002) strong increase -0.009*** -0.035*** -0.130*** 0.107*** 0.068*** (0.001) (0.002) (0.010) (0.006) (0.007) Observations 17,530 p-value 0.000 Pseudo R-squared 0.110 Robust standard errors in parentheses *** p<0.01, ** p<0.05, * p<0.1
  15. 15. Share of workers covered by collective pay agreements (estimation sample) Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 15 4 Evidence of DNWR EE 8 PT 62 LT 16 GR 69 UK 20 RO 72 PL 20 AT 75 HU 20 SI 80 BG 21 NL 90 MT 21 FR 94 LV 22 BE 95 CY 28 ES 97 CZ 34 IT 99 SK 38 DE 44 Total 62 HR 47 EA 74 LU 52 non-EA 29
  16. 16. Wage adjustments and employment when demand falls – IV ordered probit Employment equation ∗ = + " + " • = if # < ∗ ≤ # Wage equation ∗ = + + • Instrument for wage adjustments: collective pay agreement • Assumption: " ~ % 0 0 , 1 ' ' 1 , ' ≠ 0 Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 16 5 DNWR and employment
  17. 17. Collective agreements as an IV Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 17 5 DNWR and employment • Assumption: collective bargaining has no direct effect on employment • Boeri and van Ours (2013): the view that bargaining is over wages and employers take the wage as given when “choosing the employment levels” is a “standard (and realistic) characterization of collective bargaining” • Venn (2009): collective bargaining in Europe seldom covers severance pay and notice periods different from legislation
  18. 18. 18 5 DNWR and employment
  19. 19. Further significant determinants of wage and employment adjustments • Negative on employment/wages – Decrease in the availability of supplies – Fall in the customers’ ability to pay – Lower access to external financing • Flexible wage components (dummy = 1 if bonuses/total wage bill > 0) – positive on wages and employment →adjusted prior to adjusting base wages and employment • Firing costs: positive on wages • Credit constraints w.r.t. – refinance debt: negative on employment/wages – finance investment: positive on employment Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 19 5 DNWR and employment
  20. 20. Robustness • Separate estimation for EA and non-EA countries • Exclusion of covariates • Inclusion of the percentage of higher skilled workers and of workers with more than five years of tenure • Inclusion of persistence of demand shock • Two-stage least squares: treat ordinal wage and employment as continuous variables suggests that wages are endogenous conclude from the test statistics that our instrument is valid yields negative relationship between wages and employment Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 20 5 DNWR and employment
  21. 21. Conclusions (1/2) • Evidence of wage rigidities in Europe between 2010 and 2013: – collective pay agreements reduce probability of downward wage adjustment; implies more DNWR for countries with larger shares of employees covered – asymmetric demand elasticities for wages • Negative effect of DNWR on firm-level employment when rigidities induced by collective pay agreements • Suggests that exit clauses in case of demand shocks could mitigate negative employment effects at the firm level Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 21 6 Conclusions
  22. 22. Conclusions (2/2) • Limitation of data: only includes survivors • Macro level: – No direct conclusions as wage adjustments and the incidence of unemployment impact aggregate demand – Opposing theories about the impact of wage rigidity on employment – Empirical papers: no or small negative impact of DNWR • Outlook: Comparing degrees of DNWR between countries Wage adjustment and employment in Europe 22 6 Conclusions
  23. 23. Thanks for your attention What is the impact of wage flexibility on employment and output 23

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