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Why Wages Don't Fall During a Recession

Why Wages Don't Fall During a Recession Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A deep question in economics is why wages and salaries don't fall during recessions. This is not true of other prices, which adjust relatively quickly to reflect changes in demand and supply. Although economistshave posited many theories to account for wage rigidity, none is satisfactory. Eschewing "top-down" theorizing, Truman Bewley explored the puzzle by interviewing--during the recession of the early 1990s--over three hundred businessexecutives and labor leaders as well as professional recruiters and advisors to the unemployed. By taking this approach, gaining the confidence of his interlocutors and asking them detailed questions in a nonstructured way, he was ableto uncover empirically the circumstances that give rise to wage rigidity. He found that the executives were averse to cutting wages of either current employees or new hires, even during the economic downturn when demand for theirproducts fell sharply. They believed that cutting wages would hurt morale, which they felt was critical in gaining the cooperation of their employees and in convincing them to internalize the managers' objectives for the company.Bewley's findings contradict most theories of wage rigidity and provide fascinating insights into the problems businesses face that prevent labor markets from clearing.

About the Author

Truman F. Bewleyis Alfred Cowles Professor of Economics at <>Yale University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction

2. Methods

3. Time and Location

4. Morale

5. Company Risk Aversion

6. Internal Pay Structure

7. External PayStructure

8. The Shirking Theory

9. The Pay of New Hires in the Primary Sector

10. Raises

11. Resistance to Pay Reduction

12. Experiences with Pay Reduction

13. Layoffs

14.Severance Benefits

15. Hiring

16. Voluntary Turnover

17. The Secondary Sector

18. The Unemployed

19. Information, Wage Rigidity, and Labor Negotiations

20. Existing Theories

21.Remarks on Theory

22. Whereto from Here?

Notes

References

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674952416
Author:
Bewley, Truman F.
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Subject:
Development & Growth
Subject:
Labor & Industrial Relations
Subject:
Economics
Subject:
Wages
Subject:
Economics - Theory
Subject:
Labor supply
Subject:
Recessions.
Subject:
Development - Business Development
Subject:
Economics - General
Subject:
Labor & Industrial Relations - General
Copyright:
Series Volume:
99-335
Publication Date:
20000215
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
24 line illustrations, 104 tables
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.375 in 2.1 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Economics » General

Why Wages Don't Fall During a Recession
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Product details 544 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674952416 Reviews:
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