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Information about Reykja

Published on March 11, 2014

Author: buisson277


Michel Husson Reykjavik, 16th may 2013 Quelle norme salariale pour la zone euro : coordination ou dévaluation interne ? Which wage rule for the euro area: coordination or internal devaluation?

1. Why high wages are not the source of the crisis and trade imbalances

Unit labour cost, price and wage share Greece 2000-2010

“Assessing the Links Between Wage Setting, Competitiveness, and Imbalances” European Commission Note for the Economic Policy Committee , 2011

If there is a relation between unitary labour costs and export performance, it is weak and of a secondary order of magnitude (…) and hence the former cannot be the cause of the latter. European Commission, European Competitiveness Report 2010.

2. Why low wages are not a way to restore competitiveness

Less wages  more competitiveness?

NO ! Recession  less imports  less trade deficit

Wage Bargaining Framework: employment-friendly reforms decrease minimum wages decrease the bargaining coverage or (automatic) extension of collective agreements. reform the bargaining system in a less centralized way, for instance by •removing or limiting the "favourability principle" •introducing/extending the possibility to derogate from higher level agreements •negotiate firm-level agreements. overall reduction in the wagesetting power of trade unions.

3. Productivity, wages and prices Germany / France A sectoral approach

France-Germany: manuf vs services Productivity: same structure

France-Germany: manuf vs services Wages: a gap in Germany

France-Germany: manuf vs services Prices: a gap in France

France-Germany: manuf vs services Wage share: a gap between Germany and France in the manufacturing sector

4. In search of an optimal wage rule: An incompatibility triangle? The classical rule (a reminder): Wage = price + productivity

An incompatibility triangle?

Is there a way out of the triangle? 1. A wage rule: an overall rise of wages according to the general price index and the average productivity  fair distribution of productivity gains 2. A “price rule” to obtain an equalization of profit rates between sectors: the relative sectoral prices should vary inversely with the relative sectoral productivities  constant profit share in all sectors 3. transfers and investments (structural funds) in the productive sector to ensure a faster productivity growth in the catching-up countries  convergence of inflation rates between countries

Very tentative conclusions  The underlying logic of the Commission's recommendations is to question the social model(s). It leads to a prolonged recession, social regression and generalized hyper- competition.  European integration was truncated, but the exit from the euro could cost even more.  A refondation of Europe needs a coordinated refusal of the counter-reforms and a proposal for the implementation of solidarity rules. But it is “not an easy path” but a “demanding climb.”

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