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  • Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials x
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Ms. Yuanyan S Zhang
Wage rises have remained stubbornly low in advanced Europe in recent years, but, at the same time, newer EU members are experiencing rapid wage acceleration. This paper investigates the drivers of this wage divergence. Econometric analysis using error correction models suggests that wage growth responds more quickly to changes in unemployment in the newer EU members than in advanced Europe, where wages are more closely related to inflation and inflation expectations in the short run, implying greater inertia in nominal wage rises in advanced Europe. In the years after the global crisis, this inertia contributed to the build up of a real wage overhang relative to sharply slowing labor productivity, which subsequently dragged on nominal wage rises even as unemployment began to decline. Spillovers of subdued wage growth between euro area countries also weighed on wage rises in advanced Europe.
Mr. Gee Hee Hong, Zsoka Koczan, Weicheng Lian, and Mr. Malhar S Nabar
Nominal wage growth in most advanced economies remains markedly lower than it was before the Great Recession of 2008–09. This paper finds that the bulk of the wage slowdown is accounted for by labor market slack, inflation expectations, and trend productivity growth. In particular, there appears to be greater slack than meets the eye. Involuntary part-time employment appears to have weakened wage growth even in economies where headline unemployment rates are now at, or below, their averages in the years leading up to the recession.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews several methods to measure wage flexibility, and their suitability for evaluating the extent of such flexibility during times of structural change, when wage distributions and wage curves can be particularly volatile. The paper uses nonparametric estimation to capture possible nonlinearities in the wage curve and relaxes the assumption of a stable wage distribution over time by linking the shape of the wage change distribution to macroeconomic variables. The proposed methodology is applied to Polish micro data. The estimates confirm that wages are less elastic in a high-unemployment/low-wage environment. Based on a comparison of actual and counterfactual wage distributions, the effects of nominal wage rigidities on real wages, and thus, on the labor market and the real economy, were limited until 1998, but have been quite significant thereafter.
Mr. Eswar S Prasad and Mr. Michael P. Keane
This paper documents that inequality in labor earnings increased substantially during the economic transition in Poland. One surprising result is that earnings inequality increased markedly in both the private and public sectors, indicating that even state-owned enterprises in Poland moved toward competitive wage setting during the transition. Education premia increased sharply, while experience premia declined. Increases in within-group inequality account for about 60 percent of the increase in overall wage inequality. But, contrary to the experience of countries like the United States, increases in within-group inequality in Poland were very different across skill groups, with much larger increases for highly educated workers.
International Monetary Fund
This paper argues that the development of human capital in the public sector should be an important ingredient in any proposed set of “second-generation” reforms for Africa. In the post-colonial era the quality of governance has seriously declined, and the stock of human capital in the public sector has been eroded by a flight of human capital from many countries in response to compression of wages. The paper develops a simple theoretical framework to discuss these issues and the continent’s experience with foreign technical assistance in supplementing the low level of domestic human capital.