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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 62:
Sticky Consumption and Rigid Wages

Tore Ellingsen () and Steinar Holden

Abstract: The paper suggests a channel through which past expectations affect current wage aspirations, leading to real wage rigidity. Expectations have a long run impact on the composition of consumption, because they determine the purchase of durables. Due to adjustment costs, moderate changes in income are absorbed by non-durable consumption only. We show that when labour demand is unexpectedly low, workers are risk seeking; they prefer a risk of becoming unemployed to a substantial reduction of the real wage. Conversely, they show moderation when labour demand is unexpectedly high.

Keywords: Wage rigidity; aspirations; durables; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: J51; J64; (follow links to similar papers)

27 pages, July 1995

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