Europe > Norway

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  • Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy x
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Ms. Thornton Matheson and Mr. Pall Kollbeins
In contrast to most Scandinavian countries, Iceland allocates the income of closely held businesses (CHBs) between capital and labor based on administratively set minimum wages rather than an imputed return to book assets.  This paper  contrasts the relative tax burdens of the current minimum wage system with asset-based allocation methods, and finds that switching to an asset-based method could increase tax revenues from CHBs in a generally progressive manner.  Predictably, the shift would also raise the tax burden of skilled labor-intensive industries more than it would that of capital-intensive industries.
Mr. Alun H. Thomas
The literature on the relationship between the unemployment rate and wage bargaining fails to separate the offsetting effects of a reduction in competition associated with centralized bargaining and the increased awareness of unemployment externalities. This paper uses OECD data to distinguish these effects. While wages have become more sensitive to changes in the unemployment rate in countries that have switched to centralized wage-bargaining arrangements, the industry wage is not particularly sensitive to internal factors (relative price and productivity shifts) in economies with centralized/industry-level bargaining arrangements. The latter effect dominates in terms of persistently high unemployment and weaker growth.
Mr. Alun H. Thomas
The paper investigates the determinants of wages in the tradables and service sectors in Norway and Sweden. Tradables wages are determined by their own productivity growth whereas service sector wages are influenced by wage growth in the tradables sector. The traditional strong sensitivity of the real wage to changes in the unemployment rate has been virtually eliminated since the recessionary period in the early 1990s in Sweden, and real wages have grown faster than macroeconomic factors alone would suggest. In contrast, real wages have become more sensitive to cyclical conditions in Norway and have grown less rapidly than macroeconomic factors indicate. These changes in the wage process have hindered the development of private sector employment in Sweden but have stimulated private sector employment in Norway.