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Resuscitating The Wage Channel In Models With Unemployment Fluctuations

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Executive Summary

All else equal, higher wages translate into higher inflation. More rigid wages imply a weaker response of inflation to shocks. This view of the wage channel is deeply entrenched in central banks' views and models of their economies. In this paper, the authors present a model with equilibrium unemployment which has three distinctive properties. First, using a search and matching model with right-to-manage wage bargaining, a proper wage channel obtains. Second, accounting for fixed costs associated with maintaining an existing job greatly magnifies profit fluctuations for any given degree of wage fluctuations, which allows the model to reproduce the fluctuations of unemployment over the business cycle. And third, the model implies a reasonable elasticity of steady state unemployment with respect to changes in benefits.

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