Inflation and Wage Dispersion

19 Pages Posted: 28 May 2004

See all articles by Allan Drazen

Allan Drazen

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Daniel S. Hamermesh

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: 1986

Abstract

A large body of empirical work has demonstrated that higher inflation, especially when it is unexpected, leads to greater dispersion in the distribution of price changes across subaggregates. A sparse and more recent literature suggests exactly the opposite effects on the distribution of wage changes. This study first reconciles these apparently opposite results using a model in which shocks to the economy can affect both wages and prices and the demand for indexing. If the positive effect of shocks on the demand for indexing is sufficiently large, the dispersion of changes in wages or prices will be reduced even though the shocks' direct effect is to increase this dispersion. Implicitly from the evidence, this offset is large enough in wage-setting, but not so large in price determination. Additional evidence on the relationship between inflation and the dispersion of wage changes is provided by empirical work for 14 Israeli manufacturing industries, 1956-82. The results suggest that in Israel, just as in the United States (on which previous work has been conducted) with its much less rapid and variable inflation, dispersion also decreased with unexpected price inflation.

Suggested Citation

Drazen, Allan and Hamermesh, Daniel S., Inflation and Wage Dispersion (1986). NBER Working Paper No. w1811. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=338848

Allan Drazen (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States
301-405-3477 (Phone)
301-405-7835 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Daniel S. Hamermesh

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8526 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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