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Why wages might be sticky downward

If a labor market model with flexible wages does not describe unemployment very well—because it predicts that anyone willing to work at the going wage can always find a job—then it may prove useful to consider economic models in which wages are not flexible or adjust only very slowly. In particular, even though wage increases may occur with relative ease, wage decreases are few and far between.

One set of reasons why wages may be “sticky downward,” as economists put it, involves economic laws and institutions. For low-skilled workers being paid the minimum wage    , it is illegal to reduce their wages. For union workers operating under a multiyear contract with a company, wage cuts might violate the contract and create a labor dispute or a strike. However, minimum wages and union contracts are not a sufficient reason why wages would be sticky downward for the U.S. economy as a whole. After all, out of the 150 million or so workers in the U.S. economy, only about 1.4 million—less than 2% of the total—are paid the minimum wage. Similarly, only about 12% of American wage and salary workers are represented by a labor union. In other high-income countries, more workers may have their wages determined by unions or the minimum wage may be set at a level that applies to a larger share of workers. But for the United States, these two factors combined affect only about one-fifth or less of the labor force.

Economists looking for reasons why wages might be sticky downwards have focused on factors that may characterize most labor relationships in the economy, not just a few. A number of different theories have been proposed, but they share a common tone.

One argument is that even employees who are not union members often work under an implicit contract    , which is that the employer will try to keep wages from falling when the economy is weak or the business is having trouble, and the employee will not expect huge salary increases when the economy or the business is strong. This wage-setting behavior acts like a form of insurance: the employee has some protection against wage declines in bad times, but pays for that protection with lower wages in good times. Clearly, this sort of implicit contract means that firms will be hesitant to cut wages, lest workers feel betrayed and work less hard or even leave the firm.

Efficiency wage theory argues that the productivity of workers depends on their pay, and so employers will often find it worthwhile to pay their employees somewhat more than market conditions might dictate. One reason is that employees who are paid better than others will be more productive because they recognize that if they were to lose their current jobs, they would suffer a decline in salary. As a result, they are motivated to work harder and to stay with the current employer. In addition, employers know that it is costly and time-consuming to hire and train new employees, so they would prefer to pay workers a little extra now rather than to lose them and have to hire and train new workers. Thus, by avoiding wage cuts, the employer minimizes costs of training and hiring new workers, and reaps the benefits of well-motivated employees.

Questions & Answers

If the government decrases spending by ksh. 500 billion what is the change in output given MPC is 0.75
Gichana Reply
how can policy makers strike the balance between inflation and unemployment?
Oreva Reply
c=800 + 0.75y i=500 G=900 compute the equilibrium level of national output
Omar Reply
y=c+I+g+(X-M) y=800+.75y+500+900+0 y-.75y=2200 .25y=2200 y=2200/.25 y=8800=national level of output
Please tell me the current crr, repo rate etc
Ranjeeta Reply
cash reserve ratio is the amount that is deposit by the commercial bank in Central bank.... n repo rate is a loan interest amount
what is slr madam sahar
jo amount bank reserve rakhti hai bank mai customers k liye jese ATM mai ya bank mai rakha hota hai, wo slr hota hai
pakka sahi hai
good joke
Argentina Lose !!😭😭
SLR refers to that portion of total deposits of a commercial bank which it has to keep with itself in the form of cash reserve
What is cash crop?
Ranjeeta Reply
commeciaal crops
So jowar is not cash crop?
anything which is plant inorder to sell in the market
How demand deposits are different from savings?
can unemployment be a factor of inflation?
David Reply
yeah it has an impact on cost push inflation
microeconomics is individual firms and macroeconomics is a large as a full
kendra Reply
That's true 👍
word micro means small and tiny part. word macro means large and big part.
is unemployment another cause of inflation?
can I say unemployment can cause inflation?
no. unemployment can possibly lead to deflation
if their are no production am I correct to say inflation will occurs
one of the causes of inflation is excess demand. if there's no production there would be no demand so no inflation
if we take a look at inflation, it occur because of low production. High price chasing few goods.
So are you saying demand creates supply?
to an extent because if s9mething is demanded, it's likely to be supplied
OK am still confused, if there is unemployment low production, and employment high production, inflation high increase in price, how can production be high and we are faced with inflation? When inflation is referred to higher price chasing few goods.
if the demand is increased , what is the graphics on it?
Tadesse Reply
what is macroeconomics
Prosenjit Reply
large-scale economics, such as interest rates or the gross national national product rate of of a country
Macroeconomics: is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole. This includes regional, national, and global economies.
well said
hello everyone, would like to ask a favor... i need your help to answer this problem: Assume that equilibrium GDP is 400B; potential GDP is 500B, the marginal propensity to consume is 9/10, the interest rate is 8%, investment spending is P20B, the money supply is 120B, and the reserve requirement
is 1/10. By how much and in what direction should the Fed change the monetary base?
what are the factors that influence surplus budget? and its effects
Christopher Reply
what is credit creation
how monetary and fiscal policy affect money supply? on economy
Christopher Reply
what is hyperinflation
David Reply
what is stagflation
in an economy when there is both inflation & unemployment prevailing at the same time.
@david - hyperinflation is very rapid inflation; it is sometimes reckoned to set in when price increases exceed 50 percent per month. Such rapid inflation not merely makes money useless as a store of value, but seriously affects its use as a medium of exchange
@yogesh: the one you are describing is Stagflation
I was answering to Riaz's querry.
Sorry, didn't see the question
what is credit creation?
what are the factors that influencing surplus budget
may I ask master level questions on this chat?
saddiq Reply
am so confused about the concept of scarcity. can u hlp me
 · Concepts of Scarcity. Scarcity refers to the condition of insufficiency where the human beings are incapable to fulfill their wants in sufficient manner. In other words, it is a situation of fewer resources in comparison to unlimited human wants. Human wants are unlimited.
what is PPC
Production possibility curve is a curve that shows different possibilities of production of a set of two good which can be produced with the given resources
micro vs macro which is complex in your view?
the aggregate expenditure function determines a specific national equilibrium income. substantiate graphically noting the sheets where applicable
Asbel Reply
formula of economics

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Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
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