Wage Flexibility across EMU Members: How Endogenous is the Currency Union?
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Abstract. The authors test whether the introduction of a common currency and the single monetary policy in the European Monetary Union might have increased the need for nominal wage flexibility. They try to find out whether wage dynamics between euro member countries became more synchronized through the adoption of the common currency. They run a model of endogenously induced changes of bilateral correlation coefficients of wage dynamics, where trade intensity, sector specialization and financial integration are assumed to be the driving forces for endogeneity on the labor markets. They use a panel data structure to allow for cross-section weights for country-pair observations. Regressions are with instrument variables in order to disentangle exogenous from endogenous influences. They apply these techniques to the dynamics of nominal wages, real wages and unit labor costs. They find evidence of persistent asymmetries in nominal wage formation, despite a single currency and monetary policy, which is responsible for diverging unit labor costs and emerging trade imbalances among the EMU member countries.